For all its lapses, the portrait of a Darwinian social order of haves and have-nots resonates with the chilly, jittery times in which we live.
Stephen Holden - New York Times
For those who prefer their classic literary adaptations to be as pure as possible, Great Expectations will be a happy addition to the canon.
Claudia Puig - USA Today
It's a welcome and faithful addition to the canon, despite some tweaks.
Michael O'Sullivan - Washington Post
Lazy English teachers who park their students in front of this will be doing those kids a service.
Alan Scherstuhl - Village Voice
Yet another big-screen version of Dickens' exquisite tale of striving, charity and arrogance highlights the Gothic deliciousness of the tale.
Joe Neumaier - New York Daily News
This Great Expectations is an absorbing addition to the roster of Dickens films that continues our 21st-century fascination with the worlds created by a 19th-century storyteller.
Mary Houlihan - Chicago Sun-Times
This remake is the victim of its own loyalty, forgetting that the confounding of expectation is what brought the story to life in the first place.
- Chicago Reader
Honors the source while making some small but significant alterations.
David Hiltbrand - Philadelphia Inquirer
The crucial central roles go wanting.
Colin Covert - Minneapolis Star Tribune
Director Mike Newell approaches the sprawling bildungsroman with a stiff formalism, sacrificing all cinematic excitement for the sake of exalting great performances.
Barbara VanDenburgh - Arizona Republic
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.
Rex Reed - New York Observer
A passable feature-length adaptation that does little to burnish the estimable screen legacy of a Dickens classic.
Justin Chang - Variety
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.
Kyle Smith - New York Post
Vivid characterizations from Ralph Fiennes and Helena Bonham Carter are the highlights of Mike Newell's traditional retelling of the classic Dickens novel.
David Rooney - Hollywood Reporter
It is skillfully made and adeptly performed; even so it doesn't really add anything to the canon.
Annlee Ellingson - Los Angeles Times
This business-like adaptation hums along about as well as a movie can when it has no real reason to exist.
Sean Burns - EntertainmentTell
While Mike Newell's adaptation of "Great Expectations" isn't a terrible one by any means, there just isn't enough here to make it worth the time of sitting through a story that's already been done many times over.
Jeff Beck - Examiner.com
... has the feel of a very well done History Channel production. Which doesn't make it bad, only superfluous.
Philip Martin - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
In a culture already awash with so much Dickens, another take on 'Great Expectations' needs to be a real pip (forgive me) to be worth the trouble.
John Beifuss - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
It somehow feels more suited for the 'Masterpiece Theatre' crowd than for the multiplex.
Todd Jorgenson - Cinemalogue.com
Its fidelity to the source and its stylish, though somewhat sedate approach make it a good, if not great, modern alternative to Lean's still-superb filmization.
Frank Swietek - One Guy's Opinion
The world can always stand to be reminded, even for the ten thousandth time, of towering art, even from those that include a boring lead who seems to go through a trendy haircut every reel.
Matt Prigge - Metro
It's a handsome visualization, but it's no substitute for the book.
Chris Hewitt (St. Paul) - St. Paul Pioneer Press
A BBC- or PBS-caliber television movie that, while atmospheric, does not have a ton of production values beyond Ralph Fiennes and Helena Bonham Carter, giving boisterous performances in pivotal roles.
Duane Dudek - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Helena Bonham Carter's Miss Havisham is quite the most fascinating incarnation of this character I've ever seen, and she's matched every step of the way by Ralph Fiennes as Abel Magwitch.
Ken Hanke - Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
Missing the connective tissue that's served previous adaptations so well. Without dramatic strength, Newell has created a museum piece, best presented on mute.
Brian Orndorf - Blu-ray.com
The latest film version of Dickens' novel offers nothing new except a chance to see another generation of talented hams tackle its memorable characters.
Marc Mohan - Oregonian
The immortal classic could not be more relevant in its ironic title alone, to this age of economic crisis in capitalism and the trauma of downward class mobility. And with class uncertainty unleashed back then in both brutal and comical storytelling.
Prairie Miller - NewsBlaze
But Newell's version stands out: its emotional core is not so much in the romance between Pip and Estella as in Pip's moral development and how the love story informs and complicates it.
Kenneth R. Morefield - Christianity Today
It's not clear what this re-do adds except another line to these actors' resumes.
Stephen Whitty - Newark Star-Ledger
As the pages turn faster, focusing on the hows and whys of a major crime central to the plot, this concision and velocity make the film feel like a modern thriller. Booo.
Steven Boone - RogerEbert.com
This swift, gorgeous, uneven production captures the scope, flavor and drive, if not the depth, of Dickens' greatest novel.
Michael Sragow - Orange County Register
It's good, not great - but, for some of us, expectations will be met, and then some.
Moira MacDonald - Seattle Times
A little more grit and a lot less of Richard Hartley's overly insistent score could have enlivened a movie that too often feels rote.
Daniel Eagan - Film Journal International
Does this iteration have anything new, fresh, or innovative to recommend it? Nope.
Mike D'Angelo - AV Club
While the latest Great Expectations is unnecessary...it's somehow endearing. Director Mike Newell has delivered an easily digestible, though visually plain, take on the classic.
Andrew Lapin - The Dissolve
[Helena Bonham Carter gives] a wonderful rendering of Miss Havisham, equal parts melancholy, good-hearted and downright creepy.
Weak leads keep this from being the greatest "Expectations," but the stellar supporting cast and lustrous production values still make it a grand one.
One can't help but feel Dickens's classic text has been bent and broken-and not necessarily into a better shape.
Keith Uhlich - Time Out
Helena Bonham Carter does something with Miss Havisham that Martita Hunt couldn't quite manage in the brilliant 1946 David Lean film; namely, make it feel as though she never changed out of that damned wedding dress.
Jim Schembri - 3AW
I enjoyed the gloomy English setting and was impressed by how many subplots they were able to explore.
Matthew Toomey - ABC Radio Brisbane
A fresh rendering of the Dickens classic, designed to mark the 200th anniversary of the writer's birth, plays it far too safe to ever challenge Lean's definitive take.
Ed Gibbs - The Sunday Age
Suitably grimy (if not as filthy as last year's Wuthering Heights), this is notable for its performances.
David 'Mad Dog' Bradley - Rip It Up
Remaking a literary and cinema classic can be a Dickens of a job.
Don Groves - sbs.com.au
Hits all the themes, twists and turns without ever really providing anything memorable.
James Croot - Flicks.co.nz
You know what you're getting with this movie. Perhaps some will appreciate a nicely decorated, predictable take on a beloved book. I'd rather something riskier.
Simon Miraudo - Quickflix
Newell retains the core elements of the story and key characters as well as the authentic elements of the period, but still manages to make the film a fresh experience
Andrew L. Urban - Urban Cinefile
With its authentic production design and lilting tempo that seems to reflect the times, I really enjoyed this version of the film and the storytelling elements weave together naturally
Louise Keller - Urban Cinefile
Faithfully and tastefully performed, without ever threatening the legacy of David Lean's definitive 1946 version.
Ed Gibbs - The National
Even with lowered expectations it's far from great. What a shame.
Alistair Harkness - Scotsman
Above all, this handsomely designed, unobtrusively edited and thoughtfully acted film moves at quite a clip ...
Philip French - Observer [UK]
I love it when a film that is 'supposed' to be all stuffy and classic turns out to be this electric and alive...
MaryAnn Johanson - Flick Filosopher
There's plenty of verbal exposition to try give it some gas, but even from this launch pad, the finale lacks an emotional kick.
Graham Young - Birmingham Mail
It may lack surprise and freshness but with so much talent involved you certainly wont be bored.
Henry Fitzherbert - Daily Express
Enjoyable - as long as your expectations aren't too great.
Alex Zane - Sun Online
[A] grim and cheerless adaptation of the Charles Dickens classic.
Stella Papamichael - Radio Times
Others may feel they've seen it all before (at the press screening, the air was thick with yawns). But not me.
Charlotte O'Sullivan - This is London
Even though Charles Dickens' oft-told story is livened up with a terrific cast and sharp script, it's difficult to see anything terribly new about this BBC-produced version.
Rich Cline - Contactmusic.com
This is a good-looking production. However, too much of it feels bland and flat. There have been so many previous versions that a new one has to justify itself.
Christopher Tookey - Daily Mail [UK]
It's all very Tim Burton - but eccentric Victoriana is a fitting spin on a familiar tale.
Carmen Gray - Little White Lies
An attractive and robust screen adaptation of the classic 1861 Dickens parable of false hopes, thwarted vanities and the mysterious workings of sowing and reaping.
Mike Four Weddings and a Funeral Newell directs the only way he could, as if he hasn't noticed the direness of the project.
Nigel Andrews - Financial Times
Great Expectations is about as comfortable as a very fat man sitting in a very small aircraft seat.
Robbie Collin - Daily Telegraph
Compelling and touching, it certainly met my expectations, although not especially exceeded them.
Roz Laws - Birmingham Post
With few characters to warm to and enough plot to fill a dozen nights in the TV parlour, turning Dickens' doorstop into a single, consistently enjoyable piece of cinema is no mean feat.
Elliott Noble - Sky Movies
Watchable adaptation enlivened by a handful of strong performances and some committed set design work but the pacing drags considerably ...
Matthew Turner - ViewLondon
A surprisingly worthwhile addition to the Dickens celebrations and one that lives up to expectations.
Kaleem Aftab - Independent
Ralph Fiennes is on great form as violent convict Magwitch and Helena Bonham Carter was born to play deranged jilted bride Miss Havisham.
Andy Lea - Daily Star
An admirable watch of highbrow production values.
Lisa Giles-Keddie - HeyUGuys
The dourness and grit that Newell opts for stylistically doesn't really carry any weight because Pip always seems too passive - more easily swayed than driven by obsession.
Stella Papamichael - Digital Spy
It's reasonable as undemanding Sunday afternoon telly, but as a movie event you'd better lower your expectations.
Siobhan Synnot - Scotsman
Newell and Nicholls' safe, schoolteacher-friendly interpretation makes no real case for going down this much-travelled road once more.
Guy Lodge - Empire Magazine
The chief reason to watch Newell's film is for the impeccable acting.
Cath Clarke - Time Out
Its glossy looks, first-rate playing and famous pedigree will be cat-nip to book-groupies.
Kate Stables - Total Film
Overall, despite the abundance of cobwebs and dust in the Havisham mansion, this adaption has a glossy, superficial feel to it. More grit, texture and emotion are what's needed to really bring this story to life.
Gail Tolley - The List