An orphan boy meets an escaped convict, a crazed rich woman, a bewitching girl, and grows up to have great expectations of wealth from a mysterious patron, on Great Expectations, Charles Dickens’ remarkable tale of rags to riches to self-knowledge.
Douglas Booth as Philip ‘Pip’ Pirrip
Vanessa Kirby as Estella Havisham
Imagine my delight when soon after finishing the famous novel by Charles Dickens, I found out there was to be a new BBC version to be broadcasted over Christmas.
So naturally I managed to get a hold of this new version and settled down to watch what I was sure to be a great adaptation of a great piece of classic literature. It is the BBC after all and they rarely get anything wrong.
And boy, was I right! This version of the novel perfectly managed to capture the spirit of the book, despite being only 3 hours long compared to the 6 hour version in 1999. The setting was right, the tone was right, the casting was brilliant, especially for Miss Havisham who was just downright creepy and ghostly. Yes, the dialogue was slightly modernized and shortened but considering the time constraints, it still managed to maintain the essence of the book and the characters personalities without completely being anachronistic. From the moment the drama opened with Magwitch threateningly rising out of the stream, I was hooked. The pacing was good and those episode cliff-hangers made me want more!
I particularly loved how they handled Pip and Estella’s romance-bringing out a lot of the subtext and letting it take center stage. In the book, it’s implied that Estella returns Pip’s feelings but it’s never stated outright and this version does one better by showing that and in turn, making Estella a much more likable character. I swooned over their scenes together and was completely entranced. The only thing I will criticize is the actress playing Estella, while pretty, isn’t the stunner Dickens made her out to be. In fact, it’s a bit strange that the actor playing Pip is more good looking than Estella! But hey, I’m not complaining about his looks! I also loved those extra romantic ‘moments’ that were added, especially that sexually charged lake scene.
I did think they shouldn’t have cut out one character, Pip’s childhood friend, as she played an important part in the book as a foil for Estella and another rival for his affections. The production didn’t suffer because of it but it could have been that much better. All the other characters were physically well-casted and were also acted very well. I ended up slightly crushing on Herbert, Pip’s best friend, who is played by the great-great-great grandson of Dickens himself, which was very cool to know.
All in all, this was a great adaptation, well directed, well-executed and well-acted. Even on it’s own it’s suburb drama and the BBC at it’s best. Well done BBC!
Historical Drama Rating: 5 stars out of 5!!!
Sexiness Rating: 5 out of 5
Ladies, we’ve got the gorgeous, blonde, model-worthy Douglas Booth (who plays Pip) who looks good even when he’s sad and brooding, and the unexpectedly cute Harry Lloyd (who plays Herbert) who you might all recognize as a villain in the HBO show Game of Thrones. He makes quite the turnaround here!
Guys… There’s the ice-queen beauty of Vanessa Kirby to keep you happy as you enjoy this mini-series.
BBC One: Aired December 27, 28, and 29 2011
PBS: Due to air April 1 and 8, 2012
Click here to view the BBC page.
Click here to view the PBS page.