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Great Expectations is a 1998 contemporary film adaptation of the Charles Dickens novel of the same name, directed by Alfonso Cuarón and starring Ethan Hawke, Gwyneth Paltrow, Robert De Niro, Anne Bancroft and Chris Cooper. It is known for having moved the setting of the original novel from 1812-1827 London to 1990s New York. (The book was first published in 1861). The hero’s name has also been changed from Pip to Finn, and the character Miss Havisham has been renamed Nora Dinsmoor. Despite its popular and respected cast of actors, the movie received mixed reviews.
The movie begins with young Finnegan “Finn” Bell playing on a beach in the Gulf Coast. An escaped convict suddenly pops out of the water and overpowers him, making Finn promise to bring back food and medicine and a bolt cutter to get the iron shanks off his leg. Finn does, and the convict unexpectedly tries to make Finn take him by boat to Mexico. The police seize the small boat heading out to sea. The convict hides on a buoy, and Finn’s boat is towed back to shore.
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