Great Expectations

MPAA Rating: R

Entertainment: +3

Content: -2

This unusual adaptation of Charles Dickens' classic novel is set in the 1980s. It begins on the Gulf Coast of Florida with 10-year-old Finn Bell (Jeremy James Kissner), an orphan, living with his older sister and her boyfriend, Joe (Chris Cooper). Finn helps Joe, a handy man, do odd jobs around town, but he also enjoys drawing fish and fishing. Finn attracts the attention of the town's most eccentric and wealthiest citizen, Ms. Dinsmore (Anne Bancroft) when he and Joe do yard work for her. The elderly recluse pays Finn to come to her home every Saturday as a companion for her young niece, Estella (Raquel Beaudene). This Saturday ritual continues through the children's teenage years with Finn becoming more and more infatuated with the cold, unattainable Estella who suddenly moves to New York. Seven years later Estella (Gwyneth Paltrow) and Finn (Ethan Hawke) meet again. An unidentified benefactor has arranged for Finn to exhibit his artwork in a New York studio. The two resume their strange friendship-love relationship even though Estella is engaged to someone else. Meanwhile, a mobster (Robert De Niro) Finn helped as a young boy suddenly reappears.

GREAT EXPECTATIONS offers viewers a fascinating look into Dickens' three dimensional characters so rare in today's literature. Finn wears his heart on his sleeve, making him very vulnerable to the sophisticated upper class and their snobbish cruelty. Although he is "socially challenged," Finn has been blessed with Joe as a strong role model. Finn's sister deserts him, and Joe teaches the boy responsibility and respect for others. Once in New York, Finn becomes one of them - almost. He shows shame and embarrassment when a proud Joe appears at Finn's first art exhibit in a tacky rented tux. Estella enjoys teasing Finn by inviting him to touch her in an erotic way, then abruptly walking away. She eagerly agrees to let him paint her completely nude, much to his surprise. Breast nudity is shown several times, but her lower body is concealed, except in the paintings themselves. When Finn and Estella eventually have sex, she expresses desire but not love. Their passionate groping, nudity and sex scene could have been implied without graphic display. Also unnecessary is the film's foul language, including 18 obscenities and 10 profanities. The film's only violence is a fatal stabbing, but is not gratuitous. Because of its nudity, eroticism and offensive language, don't expect GREAT EXPECTATIONS to be great viewing.

Preview Reviewer: Mary Draughon
20th Century Fox, 10201 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90035

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: None

Obscene Language: Many (18) times (s-word 5, f-word 12, other 1)

Profanity: Many (10) times- Regular 6 (J 4, G-d 1, G 1) Exclamatory 4 (God knows, Oh God)

Violence: Once - Moderate (man stabbed on subway)

Sex: Once (nudity implied, graphic)

Nudity: Several times (breast nudity, silhouetted nude woman, full nudity in sketches)

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: Few times (girl entices man to put hands under her skirt; passionate kissing)

Drugs: Few times (smoking and drinking whiskey)

Other: None

Running Time: 105 minutes
Intended Audience: Adults

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