Metascore
60

Mixed or average reviews - based on 23 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 23
  2. Negative: 0 out of 23
  1. Reviewed by: Michael O'Sullivan
    Nov 7, 2013
    88
    Thrillingly told, compellingly acted and beautifully shot.
  2. Reviewed by: Alan Scherstuhl
    Nov 5, 2013
    80
    Newell's film doesn't supplant Lean's, of course. The yearning is more vague, the gloom less consummate. But it's the best since, rich in feeling and dark beauty, alive with the superior scenecraft, chatter, and imagination of the most beloved of novelists.
  3. Reviewed by: David Hiltbrand
    Nov 8, 2013
    75
    More important, Nicholls has created a rich alternative conclusion, one that poignantly sweetens the love story. It's a novel approach to Great Expectations - sharp and gritty giving way to a sentimental finish - and a satisfying one.
  4. Reviewed by: Mary Houlihan
    Nov 8, 2013
    75
    Director Mike Newell and screenwriter David Nicholls focus on the major plot points of the well-known story. Their attempts mostly work but at times the film, despite its two-hour-plus length, feels rushed and truncated.
  5. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    Nov 7, 2013
    75
    It's an oft-told tale, but director Mike Newell's handsome version of Charles Dickens' epic novel is marked by strong performances, well-developed characters and gorgeous cinematography.
  6. 75
    So even though this isn’t the greatest of “Expectations” — David Lean’s black and white version in the ’40s will your heart — it’s still a pretty grand one.
  7. Reviewed by: David Rooney
    Sep 20, 2013
    70
    Vivid characterizations from Ralph Fiennes and Helena Bonham Carter are the highlights of Mike Newell's traditional retelling of the classic Dickens novel.
  8. Reviewed by: Kyle Smith
    Nov 7, 2013
    63
    An honorable, sober but completely unnecessary take on the Dickens novel, Great Expectations serves as a fine introduction to the story but won’t excite those familiar with previous versions.
  9. Reviewed by: Rex Reed
    Nov 5, 2013
    63
    If your own expectations are not too high, you crave period-costume drama and you’re one of those unfortunate people who refuses to watch anything in glorious black-and-white, this Great Expectations is worth the time and effort.
  10. Reviewed by: Barbara VanDenburgh
    Nov 8, 2013
    60
    It’s all very competent, containing all the separate components we ask of period pieces and literary adaptations: great actors, dramatic staging, lush scenery, elaborate costuming. It looks as pretty as a tightly cinched corset, and leaves just as little room to breathe.
  11. Reviewed by: Joe Neumaier
    Nov 7, 2013
    60
    Director Mike Newell’s rich take on the story is a fine introduction for new viewers.
  12. Reviewed by: Andrew Lapin
    Nov 6, 2013
    60
    Newell brings the tale a brisk touch, avoiding the fate of Victorian costume epics bloated by too much window-dressing.
  13. Reviewed by: Keith Uhlich
    Nov 6, 2013
    60
    Once Pip reaches the big city, Newell starts losing the dramatic focus, piling on incidents and revelations with a bombastic force that makes it seem as if we’re watching a cheap 19th-century telenovela.
  14. Reviewed by: Justin Chang
    Sep 20, 2013
    60
    Working from a tightly compressed screenplay by David Nicholls, director Mike Newell strikes the beats of a deservedly oft-told tale with dour competence but little in the way of dramatic inspiration or visual flair.
  15. Reviewed by: Guy Lodge
    Sep 20, 2013
    60
    It’s handsome, involving and stars the cream of British acting talent — but so did Lean’s unbeatable version, and Newell and Nicholls’ safe, schoolteacher-friendly interpretation makes no real case for going down this much-travelled road once more.
  16. Reviewed by: Cath Clarke
    Sep 20, 2013
    60
    What marks out director Mike Newell and writer David Nicholls’s version is its impeccable acting.
  17. Reviewed by: Peter Bradshaw
    Sep 20, 2013
    60
    A watchable and accessible revival, though not groundbreaking, and not quite matching the story's passionate fear and rapture.
  18. Reviewed by: Kate Stables
    Sep 20, 2013
    60
    Big vistas and big names can’t compensate for the film’s necessity to cram Dickens’ rich, sprawling set of characters and twisty subplots into a two-hour film.
  19. Reviewed by: Mike D'Angelo
    Nov 6, 2013
    58
    In the end, a thoroughly needless rehash.
  20. Reviewed by: Marc Mohan
    Nov 14, 2013
    50
    There’s nothing approaching a unique take on the story.
  21. Reviewed by: Steven Boone
    Nov 8, 2013
    50
    The Newell Great Expectations is just a good-looking Classics Illustrated rundown, something to help high schoolers labor through a Dickens English assignment a little faster.
  22. Reviewed by: Stephen Holden
    Nov 7, 2013
    50
    Containing enough characters and subplots for three movies, the novel has been nearly suffocated by Mr. Newell (“Four Weddings and a Funeral”) and his screenwriter, David Nicholls, in an effort to get everything in.
  23. Reviewed by: Robbie Collin
    Sep 20, 2013
    40
    It’s less an adaptation than a recapitulation.
User Score
7.3

Generally favorable reviews- based on 8 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 1
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 1
  3. Negative: 0 out of 1
  1. Koz
    Dec 2, 2013
    10
    I first read the simplified version of this novel when I was 8. I liked it so much that I read the unabridged version a few years later. It isI first read the simplified version of this novel when I was 8. I liked it so much that I read the unabridged version a few years later. It is by far my favorite Dickens novel, so needless to say, I had "great Expectations" when I went to see this movie.
    Rarely does a movie live up to the book. Most of the time, when you go to the theater to see an adaptation, you come home very disappointed. (Like the time I saw the latest rendition of Les Miserables, but that's another story)
    But this movie did not disappoint me. At all. All the crucial points in the story were given the appropriate level of prominence. All the characters were just as I pictured them all those years back (except, maybe, for Miss Havisham, who I imagined to be more subdued. But I'm not saying Helen Bonham-Carter did a bad job there). Everything, really, was just as I saw in my mind when reading the book.
    So I put this among the best adaptations, along with Lord of the Rings trilogy.
    I know this will never get the amount of attention TLOTR got, but if you are a fan of Dickens, or classic novels in general, I strongly believe that you must see this movie.
    Full Review »