Old Curiosity Shop (2007)
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Considering the meandering nature of the storytelling in Victorian novels, "The Old Curiosity Shop" (2007) is surprisingly faithful to the original book of Charles Dickens (published in book form in 1841). That is a good thing, to be sure, but there is something missing in the new adaptation, something like sense of humor.
Sophie Vavasseur ("Becoming Jane") plays the heroine Nell Trent (or "Little Nell") though she seems much older than she should be. Almost adult, I would say, which makes her suffering less poignant. Toby Jones ("Infamous") as Daniel Quilp is not very convincing, either, compared with Tom Courtenay in the 1995 adaptation. He makes the role too serious, and his turn as the "villain" lacks the Dickensian humor, which is essential to some of the comic scenes of the novel, including the famous line about his "Aquiline" nose.
Supporting actors fare much better. Adam Godley as Sampson Brass, Zoë Wanamaker as Mrs. Jarley and Charlene McKenna as "The Marchioness" are all very good, giving subtle nuances to roles that could easily become caricatures. The production designs and the photography are all respectable.
This is not a bad adaptation, but I am not still sure why they had to make another film based on this book.
(According to IMDb, the film's running time is 120 minutes, but my DVD copy from BBC America says its feature length is "approximately 93 minutes.")
The Shop has never been considered one of Dickens best but it does have his usual cast of characters, plot twists, and tugs on your emotions (in this case an extra dose of bathos in the form of Nell).
The bathos is about all you get in this condensed version, as you might guess by the running time. Dickens's stories need time to unfold and isn't that leisurely unfolding of a tale what we expect from MPT productions? We've been robbed. The movie follows (err, rushes through . . .) the middle path of the story line, with enough substance to build the main characters and never mind anything else -- what is the story of Nell's father? Who was the guy with the parrot that took up one whole shot unexplained and was never seen or hinted at again?
It's not that you can't watch and enjoy this. Derek Jacobi, Toby Jones and Zoë Wanamaker are always a pleasure to watch. But if what you like about Dickens (or most any writer, for that matter) are the layers of the story, and what you want is a masterful presentation of that story, you'll find this falls very short of your expectations, even if they are not great.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I was surprised that I liked this version. I couldn't see Derek Jacobi in his role. I should have known better. He was magnificent!! MUCH, MUCH, MUCH better than Peter Ustinov. Read morePublished 7 months ago by VC
A heartwarming adaptation with superior actors. It both warmed and broke my heart.Published 17 months ago by Amazon Customer
I was very disappointed in this movie. First of all, do not expect this movie to follow the book. Great liberties have been taken with the story and the ending has been completely... Read morePublished on February 9, 2014 by Ron Barger
...has a terrible ending. Dickens likes to show the seamy side of old England, but he usually comes up with some sort of ending that is pleasing for someone. Not here.Published on September 14, 2013 by rafterfive
You know how they say that the sins of the parents are visited on the children? Well, here it's the sins of a grandparent visited on the grandchild. Read morePublished on April 13, 2013 by Noni
What I like best about the Old Curiosity Shop was what the author himself did. When this was written, it was issued in serial numbers, meaning Dickens would issue chapters at a... Read morePublished on December 22, 2012 by L.K Mas Mea
I do love Charles Dickens. I think he was a genius, a remarkable writer. However, This story is so very sad. Read morePublished on October 30, 2011 by Kathryn M. Swartz