Mr Pip

2014-08-01 09:56
 
What it's about:

As a war rages on in the province of Bougainville in Papua New Guinea, a young girl becomes transfixed by the Charles Dickens novel Great Expectations, which is being read at school by the only white man in the village.

What we thought:

After watching a slew of mediocre movies, going to see Mr Pip was an incredible experience.

You see, I’m a reader, so give me a good book and I’d happily sit for hours engrossed in this whole new world of my imagination and the story unfolding. Through books I’ve travelled almost everywhere, met amazing people and learnt lifelong lessons. It’s been an escape for me in moments when I needed it the most.

And just like every reader the main protagonist Matilda uses literature to escape the reality of her daily life. Based on the novel by Llyod Jansen, Mr Pip tells the story of Matilda (Xzannjah) living on a beautiful island, Bougainville, in the throes of a civil war. Cut off from the rest of the world and living in dire circumstances, the only white man left on the island, Mr Watts (Hugh Laurie), re-opens the village school. Not really a teacher he draws upon Great Expectations by Charles Dickinson as his teaching material.

The children are soon engrossed, sitting wide eyed in expectation listening to him read and act out the book. It’s a beautiful sight to behold as the children fall in love with the story and the characters. The moments that evolve in the classroom are poignant and even the mothers join in to teach some life lessons.

Matilda, one of the students, is totally taken by the story, so much so that Pip and the other characters become real for her and he actually appears to her. He becomes her companion and friend. This is beautifully done as Matilda imagines 19th century England as what is familiar to her. Pip is dressed in the styles of the time in vibrant colours. The costumes are amazing!  
For a while we are engrossed in Matilda’s imagination and soon things take a turn for the worst. The second part of the movie focuses on the tragedy and the harsh realities of war.
While the story of Great Expectations is used as catalyst in the film it is also central to the tragedy. Soldiers arrive on the island and mistake the character of Pip for a rebel believing he is a real person. The horror that unfolds is unimaginable and will shake you to the core.

Hugh Laurie is amazing! No sign of his House persona here.  However, the star of the show is Bougainville actress Xzannjah. As much as Pip became real to her, her portrayal makes her character real. We all can relate to Matlida and the fantasy world she creates for her and Pip. For many of us literature and even film become a refuge during difficult times.

The beautiful cinematography and the heartfelt performances will hit you right in the feelings! While there are humorous and heart-warming moments, there are also others that will make it hard to watch. I dare you not to shed a tear at some point during it.

If you’re a bookworm who’s tired of the fare of action movies, sequels and superheroes then this movie is definitely for you!


The heart wrenching and touching story of Matilda and Pip is every book lover’s dream come to life!
Read more on:    hugh laurie  |  movies

Rob Charlton 2014/08/03 8:03 AM
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Laurie is wooden and unconvincing in this role
Rob Charlton 2014/08/03 8:03 AM
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Laurie is wooden and unconvincing in this role
DM Shannon 2014/08/05 11:33 PM
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I loved this film! So uncommon these days. Beautifully done.
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