Great Expectations Review

One of the beauties of a literary classic is that we can come back to it time and again and still find something new within its pages.

Last week, the latest adaptation of Great Expectations, by Charles Dickens, premiered on Hulu/F/X. Pip (Fionn Whitehead) is a young man from a lower-class family. Living with his sister and brother-in-law, he is invited to be a companion of sorts to Estella (Shalome Brune-Franklin). Estella is the adopted daughter of Miss Havisham (Olivia Coleman), a wealthy recluse. When Pip receives a financial windfall from an unknown benefactor, the doors to the higher classes open for him.

Coleman was born to play this role. She is both compelling and repellant (if that is possible). As the viewer, I could feel and smell the decades-long grief and anger that she clings to like a liferaft. Whitehead’s Pip starts off as a boy who is curious, intelligent, and eager to spread his wings beyond what is expected of him. I feel for Brune-Franklin’s Estella. She is more than a sharp tongue, a quick-witted young woman who she initially appears to be. Like all of us, she wants to please her mother, but at what cost to herself?

It’s been decades since I read this book. I love the color-blind casting and the opportunity to look at text with fresh eyes. Since watching the first two episodes, I have a new appreciation for Great Expectations and its timeless coming-of-age narrative.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

The first three episodes of Great Expectations are available for watching on Hulu. The next episode will be released on Sunday, March 9th.


Emily Movie Review

Among the Bronte sisters, Emily is the most mysterious. Reclusive and shy, she preferred walking on the Yorkshire Moors and the companionship of close family and friends to strangers.

The new biopic, Emily, was written and directed by Frances O’Connor. It tells the story of its title character and her relationship with her father’s curate, William Weightman (Oliver Jackson Cohen). While the rest of the family (sisters Charlotte (Alexandra Dowling) and Anne (Amelia Gething), brother Branwell (Fionn Whitehead), and father Patrick (Adrian Dunbar)) welcome him with open arms, Emily (Emma Mackey) is suspicious of the new arrival.

William teeters between a disapproving paternal figure and a suitor who is quicker to recognize their growing attraction than she is. Emily is determined to keep him at arm’s length. When they finally get together, the dam breaks. But when real life intervenes, they are torn apart.

There are two schools of thought when it comes to Emily. If an audience member knows nothing or next to nothing about the Brontes, it’s fine. But, if you are a fangirl of the sisters (like I am), that’s another story entirely.

What kills me is that there is so much information out there that O’Connor either ignored or played around with to fit her narrative. I understand that this is a work of fiction and not a documentary. That being said, she could have been a lot more faithful to what is known about Bronte.

Though I did appreciate the callbacks to Wuthering Heights and Mackey’s performance, I was highly disappointed with the movie and O’Connor’s choice of story.

Do I recommend it? No. It is one of the worst films that I have seen in a long time.

Subtitle GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Emily is presently playing in theaters.

The Children Act Movie Review

When those in the legal field make a ruling, the hope is that is it is clean-cut. Unfortunately, that is not always the case.

In the new film, The Children Act (based on the novel of the same name by Ian McEwan),  Fiona Maye (Emma Thompson) is a judge who is juggling a successful professional life and a crumbling marriage. Her marriage to her American husband Jack Maye (Stanley Tucci) is going down the tubes, mainly due to Fiona’s almost workaholic tendencies. At the same time, she is assigned the case of Adam Henry (Fionn Whitehead), a young man who is dying from Leukemia. Adam’s family are Jehovah’s Witnesses and do not believe in blood transfusions, even if it could save his life.

In order to determine if Adam’s religious beliefs trump the hospital’s decision to force him to take the blood transfusion, Fiona visits Adam in the hospital. Though neither Fiona or Adam know it, this visit will have a profound effect on feelings that neither have truly explored previously.

This movie is amazing. It explores a nuanced narrative with flawed, human characters that anyone can relate to.

I absolutely recommend it.

The Children Act is presently in theaters. 

%d bloggers like this: