Great Expectations

Well, what did you expect?

There once was a time when the world had to content itself with only a few versions of Great Expectations: the boring old novel by Charles Dickens and the handful of film adaptations. No more. Twentieth Century Fox recently released a new, contemporized movie version, starring Ethan Hawke and Gwyneth Paltrow. Among the items accompanying it are Great Expectations: The Soundtrack, Great Expectations: The Score, and, in the tradition of Little Women: The Novelization Of The Film Of The Novel, a new novel by Deborah Chiel. Can't decide which version of the book is for you? The following chart should help, comparing the original novel to the novelization and—for audiophiles—a sampling of the lyrical content of the star-packed soundtrack.

the novel

Opening Lines

Dickens: My father's family name being Pirrip, and my christian name Philip, my infant tongue could make of both names nothing longer or more explicit than Pip. So I called myself Pip, and came to be called Pip.

Pip/Jimmy nervously draws Estella, the elusive love of his life, in the nude

Dickens: Not applicable.

Pip/Jimmy nervously fondles Estella, the elusive love of his life

Dickens: Not applicable.

Closing Lines

Dickens (original "happy" ending): I took her hand in mine, and we went out of the ruined place; and, as the morning mists had risen long ago when I first left the forge, so, the evening mists were rising now, and in all the broad expanse of tranquil light they showed to me, I saw no shadow of another parting from her.

the novelization

Opening Lines

Chiel: It should have been the happiest night of his life—a night for champagne and caviar, for laughter and celebration, for dancing and staying up until dawn and making love with the only woman he had ever loved. Jimmy Bell should have been giddy with joy, looking forward to the future, flushed with the kind of triumph that few people his age could even hope to achieve.

Pip/Jimmy nervously draws Estella, the elusive love of his life, in the nude

Chiel: He watched as she removed her shoes, then slowly began to unbutton her dress. It fell to the floor and she paused, as if to give him the chance to study her in the state of half-undress. He said nothing as she unhooked her bra and slid off her panties. She stood before him, nude, a golden goddess in the morning light.

Pip/Jimmy nervously fondles Estella, the elusive love of his life

Chiel:Before he had a chance to respond, she spread her legs, and he took that as permission to explore further. His hand disappeared beneath her skirt, moving agonizingly close to the V between her legs. His fingers grazed the edge of her underwear; he traced the curve of her silky-smooth thigh. She rocked against his hand and closed her eyes, then opened them again and gazed unfocusedly at the picture above him.

Closing Lines

Chiel: He could see their future taking shape as inevitably as the morning tide washing in to shore. The rich golden yellow sunlight shimmered on the white-capped waves. It was a beautiful picture, more beautiful than anything he could ever hope to paint. For that and so much more, he was infinitely grateful.

the soundtrack

Opening Lines

Appropriate lyrical excerpt: She's got a Cellular / handy / almost / Brave / almost / pregnant / almost in love "VANILLA" — "Siren" by Tori Amos

Pip/Jimmy nervously draws Estella, the elusive love of his life, in the nude

Appropriate lyrical excerpt: Lady, your roof brings me down / When your roof, it brings me down / Tears me down / I become the painted clown / I'll paint your town — "Lady, Your Roof Brings Me Down" by Scott Weiland

Pip/Jimmy nervously fondles Estella, the elusive love of his life

Appropriate lyrical excerpt: Standing in the doorway / of my life in this house / Trying to find a way to get out / Looking for a sign / that I should open the door / This craziness is getting me down / But today is the day / we break free — "Today" by Poe

Closing Lines

Appropriate lyrical excerpt: How will I wake tomorrow? / Can laughter come from sorrow? / Well, I've been waiting / For a feeling / and I've waited a long time / Well, I've been around the world / and I ain't seen none like you — "Resignation" by Reef

Filed Under: Film

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