Movie Review: Mr Pip

Producer:  Andrew Adamson, Robin Scholes, Leslie Urlang, Dean Vanech
Directors: Andrew Adamson
Writer: Andrew Adamson (screenplay) and Lloyd Jones (book)
Cast: Hugh Laurie, Xzannjah, Healesville Joel, Eka Darville, Kerry Fox,


In Bougainville  Papua New Guinea a revolutionary war is going and Tom Watts (Hugh Laurie) is the only white man left on the island, he is still there because of the love he has for his native wife whom he won’t leave even though she is very sick.  While the war is going on Tom reopens the local school and starts reading to the children Great Expectations by Charles Dickens.  Tom is an object of fun to the children because he likes to walk around the village with a red rubber clown nose on.  The children call him “Popeye”.  But when Tom reads to them about the English orphan Pip (Eka Darville) he captures their attention.  Especially the attention of Matilda (Xzannjah) a young teenage girl whose father fled the war and went to Australia leaving her and  her mother (Healesville Joel) behind because her mother refused to leave the village.

The tale of Pip so enamored Matilda that she writes his name in seashells and stones on the beach, which proves disastrous as the local army troop comes to the village and tear it apart looking for this “Pip” thinking he is a rebel and the village is hiding him.  Tom Watts tries to explain that “Pip” is a fictional character but the army leader doesn’t believe him.  He warns them that he must produce “Pip” next time or they will all pay.

Mr. Pip succeeds on multiple levels it demonstrates that good literature transcends culture and can inspire anyone.  Hugh Laurie is excellent as the teacher with feet of clay who inspires his students and tries to take their minds of the horrors going on around them because of the war.  It also succeeds in the costuming of the day-dream sequences where Matilda imagines herself in London with Pip but this isn’t the dour Victorian London no this London is a riot of color that is more in tune with colors of the islands clothing.  It also succeeds in depicting the horrors of war and how the innocent will be killed for no other reason than ignorance.  And finally it succeeds in depicting love, love for a student who love to learn.  For a teacher who sees a student who finally “sees” the world portrayed by Dickens.  And the self-sacrificing love of a mother who wants to protect her daughter.

This is rated PG-13 there is a scene where a man and woman are killed using machetes (off camera) and where a woman is shown bloody and on the ground with a man acting like he is about to rape her.  So no younger children.  I give this four stars out of five.