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  • Great Expectations [VHS] [1998]
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Great Expectations [VHS] [1998]


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Product details

  • Actors: Ethan Hawke, Gwyneth Paltrow, Hank Azaria, Chris Cooper, Anne Bancroft
  • Directors: Alfonso Cuarón
  • Writers: Charles Dickens, Mitch Glazer
  • Producers: Art Linson, Deborah Lee, John Linson
  • Format: VHS
  • Language: English, French
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Fox
  • VHS Release Date: 1 Oct. 1999
  • Run Time: 107 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00004CXJN
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 263,331 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

This modern-day version of the famous Charles Dickens novel begins when ten-year-old Finn Bell is coerced by the convict Lustig (Robert De Niro) into helping him escape from the authorities. Later, when he is taken to the home of bitter recluse Nora Diggers Dinsmoor (Anne Bancroft), Finn is introduced to the beautiful Estella, whom he is fated to love. As an adult, Finn (Ethan Hawke) is able to move to New York and become a successful painter thanks to a mysterious benefactor. He is still in love with Estella (Gwyneth Paltrow), who agrees to model for him, but his hopes of romance are dashed when he discovers that she is engaged to another man.

From Amazon.co.uk

The key ingredient in this modern-day version of Charles Dickens's classic is director Alfonso Cuarón, who made the glowing, estimable A Little Princess. If you saw that (and you should), understand that Expectations has those ingredients (great sense of time, place, and timing) but adds modern music and sex appeal; the latter personified by the long-legged Gwyneth Paltrow. Finnegan Bell (Ethan Hawke as an adult, Jeremy James Kissner at age 10) is the new version of Dickens's Pip. He's a child wise beyond his years, befriending an escaped convict (Robert De Niro) in the warm waters of Florida's Gulf Coast. Finn is also the plaything for Estella (Paltrow as an adult, Raquel Beaudene at age 10), the niece of the coast's richest and most eccentric lady, Ms. Dinsmoor (a fun and flamboyant Anne Bancroft). The prudish Estella likes Finn (catch the best first kiss scene in many a moon) but has been brought up to disdain men; she'll break hearts. As the object of Finn's desires, Estella unfortunately is a one-dimensional character, yet what a dimension! Clad in Donna Karan dresses and her long, sun-kissed hair, Paltrow is luminous. She and Hawke make a very sexy couple. Mitch Glazer's script does better by Finn. He's a blue-collar worker with a gift for drawing (artwork by Francesco Clemente). Following his Uncle Joe's (Chris Cooper) honest ways, Finn grows up as a fisherman, thoughts of Estella and art drifting away in the hard work. When a mysterious benefactor allows him to follow his dream, Finn finds himself in New York, preparing for a once-in-a-lifetime art exhibit--and in the arms of the engaged Estella. Filled with cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki's golden-drenched light, the film has an irresistible, wildly romantic look. Dinsmoor's place is certainly gothic, Estella and Finn's longing encounters glamorous. Cuarón uses an MTV-friendly soundtrack with a confident touch. Songs by Tori Amos and the band Pulp--along with Patrick Doyle's silky score--create passionate scenes. It all ends far too swiftly with a seemingly tacked-on ending (reflecting the book, as it happens) but the film is splendid storytelling. It's a stylish, sweet valentine. --Doug Thomas --This text refers to the DVD edition.

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Siriam TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 28 May 2013
Format: DVD
While some will welcome the move to a 20th century setting, I fear that even allowing for what was a stellar cast at the time, the whole film left me pretty unemotionally involved for what is a timeless tale of missed opportunity and selfish love. The updating did not bring any new insights or the change of setting to USA improve the storytelling and of the actors none really impressed, De Niro in particular seeming content to simply reprise his mafioso persona seen in many other films he has been in.
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30 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Mary Whipple HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on 4 Nov. 2004
Format: DVD
With a sensational cast, haunting music, and great cinematography, this modern adaptation of Dickens's novel is far more fun and far more provocative than the original, however much one might like that novel. Set in a contemporary Gulf Coast village in Florida, Finnegan Bell (Ethan Hawke) is brought up by Joe (Chris Cooper), the lover of his sister, who has abandoned them both. A working class boy with a love of fishing and a gift for artwork, Finn is ten when escaped murderer Arthur Lustig (Robert DeNiro) surfaces one day while Finn is out exploring tidal pools. After helping him, Finn later forgets him.
Finn eventually meets Nora Dinsmore (Anne Bancroft), the richest woman in town, and her niece Estella (Gwyneth Paltrow), whom he has been hired to visit every Saturday. When Estella goes away to school, Finn loses touch with both of them, until, years later, he is suddenly invited to New York to show his artwork. A mysterious trust supports him, and he reconnects with Estella and all the other characters from the past.
Director Alfonso Cuaron and screenwriter Mitch Glazer have created a modern story of obsession and revenge. Nora Dinsmore, who was jilted on the day of her wedding, thirty years before, has been training Estella, over the years, to tease and then destroy the men who love her. Anne Bancroft plays Nora to the hilt as a funky and exotic caricature, heavily made up, carrying a cigarette holder and martini glass, while gyrating to erotic music and chanting "Chick-a-boom." DeNiro is a vicious Lustig, and his first appearance is a shocker. Ethan Hawke, as Finn, does a good job, though he is hard pressed to hold his own when the rest of the cast is camping it up. Paltrow, as Estella, is coldly calculating in her sexual teasing, and lacking the vulnerability one expects.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By NannyVal on 15 Nov. 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I think this is a fantastic adaptation, brilliantly played by all actors. Five stars, everyone I have shown it to love it too.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By RR Waller TOP 500 REVIEWER on 14 Sept. 2011
Format: DVD
SAFE READING - NO SPOILERS

With a sensational cast, haunting music, and great cinematography, this modern adaptation of one of Dickens's best-known and loved novels may be "far more fun and far more provocative than the original" (as one reviewer wrote) but, for me, that is the point, it is not the original. The original story is there, like the unexpectedly pleasant after-taste of a not so pleasant wine.

Probably this is the reaction of a reactionary, a Dickensian traditionalist but I take dislikes to films under the titles of classic books altering the characters and narratives to suit modern generations, leaving them with a warped (in the best sense of the word) version of stories and characters which have suited generations for, well, generations. For many, this new version of xxx will never be corrected, e.g. the new colour version of "Lord of the Flies", which completely missed the point in all its glorious colour and casting, "Robin Hood" in his new story, "William Wallace" in the SNP's driving force to name but three. Then there are all the re-makes of old films made by those who cannot come up with a good story of their own.

Having written that, as a film, it stands by itself, is very enjoyable and poses some of the original's dilemmas. Enjoyable film, but not Dickens. "Hold yur noise!"
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Format: Amazon Instant Video Verified Purchase
I tried to watch this but after 30 mins gave up. The beauty of the original version is that you get a feel for the Gothic Realism and the struggle of the social classes. On top of that the deeply bleak and atmospheric house of Miss Havisham and her deeply disturbing character. If you've never read the book or seen the original film you may really enjoy this but if you have. I think you'll be disappointed.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Sucker on 4 Nov. 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
so good , GWYNETH PALTROW loviey , & Rob De Niro as Magwich very clever thanks soooooooooo much for it.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By just Jack on 5 Oct. 2013
Format: DVD
On paper all the ingredients to expect the best - great location, great named actors and one of the world's greatest stories - but it is one of the worst interpretations.

Superficial and often not credible, the script lacked conflict. The acting lacked depth or tension and often incongruous emotions. At times the set looked like a budget theatre.

Like the art depicted, the film felt and looked like painting by numbers.

Very disappointing
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By dancer on 7 July 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Okay so Im a purist. But I do enjoy contemporary versions of classics if done well. Jury's out on this one. I didnt like the acting- it seemed unconvincing and I wasnt too impressed by the interpretation. Sorry. Found it frankly boring and rather depressing; little more than an excuse for gratuitous groping to be honest, which was never gonna cut it for me. I'll stick to the book I think.
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