Mike Newell’s “Great Expectations” will close the 56th BFI London Film Festival on October 21. Adapted by David Nicholls, the film stars Helena Bonham Carter, Ralph Fiennes, Jeremy Irvine, Holliday Grainger, Robbie Coltrane, Ewen Bremner, Jason Flemyng, Sally Hawkins, David Walliams and Tamzin Outhwaite.
The Brit director (“Four Weddings and A Funeral,” “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire”) states;
“I’m proud that our new version of Great Expectations should be presented this year, the bi-centenary of [author Charles] Dickens’ birth. I’ve tried to make a film that is true to the theatrical vividness, energetic characters and high colour that he is loved for, while mining the deep seams of emotional cruelty and madness that underlie one of Dickens’ darkest-shadowed stories.”
Newell also notes that he tried to make this film for young, modern audiences, where the central love affair “is shown through feelings and stresses that are of today and in a city that was, then, full of brawling energy, was unimaginably wealthy and very bad.” In her first year as BFI festival director, Clare Stewart calls the film “visually ravishing and rippling with immediacy.”
There have been several film and TV adaptations; some of the latest include 2011’s BBC miniseries with Ray Winstone, Gillian Anderson and Douglas Booth and Alfonso Cuaron’s 1998 version with Gwyneth Paltrow and Ethan Hawke. Do we need (or want?) another version of this Dickens classic?
Lionsgate will release “Great Expectations” in the UK on November 30. Watch a trailer here. BFI opens with Tim Burton’s “Frankenweenie” on October 10.