Parents' Guide to

Great Expectations (2013)

By Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 10+

Adaptation of Dickens' classic retains book's dark themes.

Movie PG-13 2013 128 minutes
Great Expectations (2013) Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 14+

Based on 2 parent reviews

age 15+

Good quality classic for older teens

I’ve seen at least one other version of this Dickens classic. It really is very good, yet strictly for older teens. Although there is some bad language, the violence in one of the opening scenes is just a taste of what is to come near the end of the film! A character’s throat is sliced. No details are spared. Otherwise, a good film.
age 13+

Watch out for language

Please note that there is at least one occurrence of the word "bastard" in the movie. Parents may wish to reconsider the appropriateness of this movie for ages under 13.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (2 ):
Kids say (1 ):

More tweens and teens should consider this satisfying adaptation as an introduction to Dickens beyond A Christmas Carol. Director Mike Newell (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire) takes his turn adapting one of English literature's most often retold tales of mystery, social climbing, and the ways money and desire can either enrich or corrupt the soul. Irvine, with his earnest face and strong arms is as believable as a blacksmith as he is a gentleman. He plays the coming-of-age Pip with an initial sweetness that makes the bitter, sad twists of the story that much more horrifying. Pip is so besotted with Estella (Grainger, lovely and icy just as Estella is meant to be played), he can't see how good and attentive a woman Biddy (Jessie Cave) is, or how the life of an honest tradesman should not be so easily dismissed.

Newell and screenwriter David Nicholls don't stick page for page to Dickens' story, and the script is tighter, more streamlined, and in some ways a relief (for film audiences) over the beloved original. Bonham Carter and Fiennes are fabulous as the perpetually bitter Miss Havisham and the tragic thief Magwitch, as are Hawkins and Flemyng as Pip's cruel sister and his surprisingly warm brother-in-law. Dickens may not paint love with a swoony, bantering brush like Jane Austen, but his themes are just as universal and substantial.

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