Saturday, November 9, 2013

Teens don’t read much anymore.  There seems to be much more pleasure in watching a movie than reading a book even when given a choice between reading the book or watching the movie about something,  Having read a lot of books and watched a lot of movies throughout the years with my four kids I disagree strongly with that opinion although I do have one child that would gladly read any book than see the movie about something.
Why does it matter?  Because first of all the movies are not quite alike the book which came first.  The book was the inspirational story.  The movie is just an interpretation of what the screen writers thought the original author intended and sometimes not.  Sometimes as in all Director Tim Burton’s dark movies, the director intentionally wanted to make the movie very different from the book.

Read the book because the author will tell you exactly what he wants you to notice in a scene and will describe it beautifully.  When you go to a movie you could be focusing on any one thing in a scene not knowing how beautiful it is or how important it is to a story therefore, I find reading the book much easier to know a story faster.  So, why am I going on this three paragraph rant about books and movies?  Well, because they made another movie on one of my classic most favorite books ever.  It is called Great Expectations by Charles Dickens.

This movie just released in some theaters around the country is supposed to be as close to the book as possible.  There aren’t any real famous actors in it but I hope somewhere some teenager will see it and even be more inspired to read the book.  Or better yet read the book first.  This film may seem to be more like something you would see on Masterpiece Theater than at the multiplex but that might not be a bad thing for a change.

There have been other movies made about this book throughout the century.  One in 1946 another in 1988 and now this refreshing version of the book on film.  Why is it a good book?  Because it is an adventure of a young boy’s life through adulthood involving learning a skill, love and being able to watch your own back.  Not too different a theme we all must go through in life.

Pip is a poor orphan who is transformed into a gentleman with the assistance of a mysterious benefactor who pays for his housing and education.  There is a powerful love story of young love and him never feeling quite good enough for the girl he loves born into money.  Pip as a child is played by Toby Irvine and as a young man by his brother Jeremy.  The young man helps out an escape convict called Megwitch which is an event that changes both their lives.

Even now we can wonder what is the right thing to do if we come from having nothing in need of help and what would we do if we had some wealth and ran into an escape convict who also needed help to survive?  Of course the answer is call the police immediately but what if you felt sorry for the guy and wanted to help him on his terms?  Charles Dickens also explores ethical issues in his adventurous book written about a century ago.  Is it ok to help a criminal who needs a jolt of human kindness?  At the end, is this criminal the one who supported financially the young orphan throughout his life?  I will not reveal the who done it in this story for you.

Another main character is Miss Havisham played by the actress Helena Bonham Carter who is seeking revenge on all males after being left at the alter on her wedding day.  She loves the little orphan boy Pip but her character is a lesson in mental illness due to a broken heart.  She years later still walks around in her dirty old wedding dress as her once beautiful mansion is crumbling from disrepair and neglect; as she is crumbling from neglect.

Pip falls in love with her niece Estella who never makes him feel quite good enough for her. Maybe she is distrustful of all men because it made her aunt crazy?  Could Miss Havisham be the one who has supported him financially throughout his life?  Read the book and see the movie.  I think it would be a great night out.  Go with me?

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