Great Expectations (1998) - Rotten Tomatoes

Great Expectations1998

Great Expectations (1998)



Critic Consensus: Great Expectations is all surface tension: beautiful people shot in beautiful locations without any depth or emotion.

Great Expectations Photos

Movie Info

Alfonso Cuaron (The Little Princess) directed this Mitch Glazer screenplay, a modernization of the 1860-61 classic by Charles Dickens. Some situations in the film are presented as memories -- the way the central figure, Finnegan Bell (Ethan Hawke) recalls events many years later. At a Florida fishing village, eight-year-old orphan Finn Bell (Jeremy James Kissner), talented at art, is left in the care of his sister and her husband, Joe (Chris Cooper). One day, Finn helps a chained, escaped convict who appears in the surf. On other days, he visits Paradiso Perduto, where he plays with young Estella (Raquel Beaudene), niece of the mansion's colorful, flamboyant, and extremely wealthy owner, Ms. Dinsmoor (Anne Bancroft), who parallels the novel's tragic Miss Havisham, a woman jilted at the altar and left emotionally scarred and mentally imbalanced. As Ms. Dinsmoor watches Finn draw a portrait of Estella, she plots to mold Estella into a hard woman capable of destroying men. In a flash forward to the '90s, Finn (Hawke) and Estella (Gwyneth Paltrow), now in their late teens, re-create the water-fountain kiss of their childhood, but Estella vanishes, breaking Finn's heart to such a degree that he doesn't draw or paint for seven years, choosing to eke out a marginal existence with his uncle Joe (after Finn's sister abandons the two). Then Manhattan art representative Jerry Ragno (Josh Mostel) turns up with a startling offer -- if Finn will return to painting and relocate in New York, Ragno will give him a one-man show. With an apparent assist from Ms. Dinsmoor, Finn makes the move and begins his new life with great expectations and a deadline of 10 weeks to complete the necessary paintings. When Finn next encounters Estella, she has a wealthy boyfriend, Walter (Hank Azaria). As Finn once again becomes entranced by Estella, he also begins to question exactly how his life is being manipulated. Francesco Clemente did the paintings and drawings seen in the film. Shown at the 1998 Sundance Film Festival. ~ Bhob Stewart, Rovi

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Ethan Hawke
as Finnegan Bell
Anne Bancroft
as Ms. Dinsmoor
Robert De Niro
as Prisoner/Lustig
Hank Azaria
as Walter Plane
Josh Mostel
as Jerry Ragno
Nell Campbell
as Erica Thrall
Jeremy James Kissner
as Finnegan age 10
Raquel Beaudene
as Estella age 10
Stephen Spinella
as Carter Macleish
Marla Sucharetza
as Ruth Shepard
Peter Jacobson
as Man on Phone
Lance Reddick
as Anton Le Farge
Craig Braun
as Mr. Barrow
Kim Snyder
as Mrs. Barrow
Nicholas Wolfert
as Security Guard
Gerry Bamman
as Ted Rabinowitz
Dorin Seymour
as Senator Elwood
Clem Caserta
as Hitman No. 1
Frank Pietrangolare
as Hitman No. 2
Dennis Paladino
as Hitman No. 3
Clem Caserta Jr.
as Hitman No. 4
Marc Macaulay
as Cop on Boat
Kendall Williamson
as 7-Year-Old Girl
Shobha Jain
as Singing Indian Woman
Aditi Jain
as Singing Indian Girl
Margo Peace
as Anchor Woman
Kimmy Suzuki
as Waitress
Adusah Boakye
as Taxi Driver
Dyan Kane
as Gallery Waitress
Anne Ok
as Gallery Receptionist
Alva Chinn
as Gallery Guest
G.B. Thomas
as Gallery Guest
Albert Zihenni
as Gallery Guest
Fritz Michel
as Gallery Guest
Lisa Herth
as Gallery Guest
Nino Pepicelli
as Gallery Guest
Wills Robbins
as Gallery Guest
Jewel Turner
as Gallery Guest
Jim Taylor McNickle
as Gallery Guest
Martin Alvin
as Gallery Guest
William Rothlein
as Gallery Guest
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Critic Reviews for Great Expectations

All Critics (35) | Top Critics (8)

The film is a successful translation of the basic material from one period and approach to another. Especially in the early Florida scenes, it seems timeless.

January 1, 2000 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Where the film fails is in its commercial proclivity to centre the narrative trajectory around a fairly asinine updating of the Pip/Estella love-match into a soppy romance.

January 27, 2019 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

Visually stunning retelling has nudity, lots of swearing.

June 8, 2016 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

Cuarón and company end up throwing all the style they've got at the film... to compensate for a perpetually stalled drama.

September 22, 2013 | Rating: 5/10 | Full Review…

In the end, shiny surfaces are just that--surfaces, with nothing necessarily underneath.

March 30, 2009 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

It's a fairly minor film, but quite lovely and successful at creating its own time and place.

January 9, 2009 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Great Expectations


I saw this film a few weeks ago and just couldnt get it out of my mind. It is totally dazzling. Its captivating. I think it probably the closest thing I have seen to a fairytale. It remains true to Dickens and has a great cast. I would say its near perfect

Cassandra Maples
Cassandra Maples

Super Reviewer


Such a great love story, really beautiful! Based on Charles Dickens' timeless tale, this is a story of the love of a man for an unreachable woman. Updated to modern day New York City, the story concerns a man of modest background who falls in love with a rich girl. But when a mysterious benefactor greenlights the man to make his dreams come true, everything done has the ultimate goal of making Estella fall in love with him...

Manu Gino
Manu Gino

Super Reviewer


Sweet, made me cry. *sniff!* ^_^ This is a disaster movie for anyone who paints tho.

Ginny  X
Ginny  X

Super Reviewer

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