Great Expectations Review 2023 Tv Show Series Cast Crew Online
Miss Havisham is one of the most indelible characters in the English-language literary canon. Written by Charles Dickens to be outfitted, each day, in the wedding finery that serves as a decaying reminder that she was spurned at the altar, she’s a bundle of resentments tied together in white lace.
And, as played by Olivia Colman, she’s the action of the new “Great Expectations” limited series — so much so that much of the rest of the densely plotty story seems like biding time between her appearances. Written by Steven Knight and co-produced by the BBC and FX, this “Great Expectations” is dimly lit and grimly violent, with the chaos and sudden bursts of enmity of Dickensian England brought to the fore. But only Miss Havisham pops off the screen, making this an adaptation lacking in a certain balance.
Here, Fionn Whitehead plays Pip, the orphan who enters Miss Havisham’s orbit so that she may teach him how to be a gentleman. That the elder woman has ulterior motives seems apparent from her bizarre mien, and from the haughty bearing of her daughter through adoption, Estella (Shalom Brune-Franklin); Whitehead, previously seen in “Dunkirk” and “Black Mirror: Bandersnatch,” didn’t compel this viewer, or convince me of the rapacious ambition that Pip needs to get ahead.
After all, Pip is a young man relentlessly on the move: To better his social situation, and to win the heart of Estella, who exists at a chilly remove. Brune-Franklin lands upon Estella’s impassivity, but Whitehead feels as if he ought to be pursuing her with a bit more avidity; it falls to Colman to provide the fireworks in the group’s scenes together. She does it well, often seeming to swallow rage and metabolize it into a sort of sickly solicitousness. The role’s a fascinating contrast to her equally imperious but far more demonstrative Queen Anne in “The Favourite”; Colman is (by now predictably) excellent.
Elsewhere, the story feels both cluttered and too spare: The story doesn’t consistently move characters around the board with ease, resulting in perennial surprise reappearances that grow wearying and confusing. Elsewhere, the pacing can grow somewhat lugubrious, emphasizing that flickers of oddity in the form of Havisham or of Abel Magwitch (Johnny Harris) adorn a somewhat slack story.
In all, Dickens devotees will find things to admire in this series (and much to discuss given certain changes from the text), but it may prove tough going for general viewers. Miss Havisham’s mansion — cluttered with detritus, almost impassably full of objects — may come to feel like a fitting device on a show on which a couple of breakthrough performances are surrounded by unmetabolized narrative clutter.