An aspiring author during the civil rights movement of the 1960s decides to write a book detailing the African-American maids' point of view on the white families for which they work, and the hardships they go through on a daily basis.
The daughter of a brilliant but mentally disturbed mathematician, recently deceased, tries to come to grips with her possible inheritance: his insanity. Complicating matters are one of her father's ex-students who wants to search through his papers and her estranged sister who shows up to help settle his affairs.
Young Nicholas and his family enjoy a comfortable life, until Nicholas' father dies and the family is left penniless. Nicholas, his sister and mother venture to London to seek help from their Uncle Ralph, but Ralph's only intentions are to separate the family and exploit them. Nicholas is sent to a school run by the cruel, abusive and horridly entertaining Wackford Squeers. Eventually, Nicholas runs away with schoolmate Smike, and the two set off to reunite the Nickleby family. Written by
Nicholas's letter from Dotheboys to Ralph Nickleby carries a postage stamp. These did not exist in the 1830s. See more »
What happens when the light first pierces the dark dampness in which we have waited? We are slapped and cut loose. If we are lucky, someone is there to catch us and persuade us that we are safe. But are we safe? What happens if, too early, we lose a parent? That party on whom we rely for only everything? Why, we are cut loose again and we wonder, even dread whose hands will catch us now? There once lived a man named Nicholas Nickleby...
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On Ilkla Moor Baht 'at
Traditional Yorkshire folk song; sung to the Methodist hymnal tune "Cranbrook" (1805) (uncredited), written by 'Thomas Clark'
Performed by Kevin McKidd (uncredited), Helen Coker (uncredited), and Jim Broadbent (uncredited)
Sung by John Browdie and Tilda while on their honeymoon in a London public house, accompanied by Mr. Wackford Squeers See more »
Stunning photography, outrageous characters and a powerful, emotional story: that's Nicholas Nickleby, the 2002 adaptation from the famous book by Charles Dickens. I have not read that book, so this story was new to me and I couldn't help but be impressed.
Hopefully, most people are still satisfied to see good people triumph in the end. With a Dickens story, you know there will be a lot to overcome, too, and lots of suffering and heartache along the way to a happy ending.
Douglas McGrathdid a fine job directing this film. Dick Pope, director of photography (cinematographer) made England look as beautiful as any Merchant-Ivory film I've seen. Start-to-finish the landscape of England never looked prettier. Pope performed the same kind of magic two years later in "The Illusionist," a gorgeous-looking movie. Kudos to Rachel Portman for a magnificent score, too, with a beautiful, sweeping theme song. This movie is a treat for the ears, as well.
Charlie Hunnam as Nicholas Nickleby was adequate; Christopher Plummer as his Uncle Ralph was very good and Jamie Bell as the unforgettable "Smike" was excellent. It's hard to believe he's the same kid who played "Billy Elliott" just a couple of years ago.
Jim Broadbent and Juliet Stevens as the wicked, evil husband-and-wife-team who run DotheBoys Hall, a boys boarding school, were also memorable. Dickens also had cruel people mistreating little boys and these two personify cruelty.
Two beautiful women: Anne Hathaway's as Nicholas' love "Madeline Bray" and Romola Garai as his sister "Kate" were both pleasant and easy on the eyes. As for supporting actors, I enjoyed them all as well, getting an extra smile from Timothy Spall and Gerald Horan and "Charles and Ned Cherryble" The same can be said for Nathan Lane and Alan Cumming, who provide much-needed comic relief and whimsy.
I did not recognize Tom Courtenay as "Newman Noggs." I guess I still picture him from his younger and much thinner years. It's been almost 25 years since I last saw him in "The Dresser" and he's changed quite a bit.
One other thing that was fun to observe in this film: everyone's vocabulary! , I loved how they expressed themselves, the good and the bad people
Of the many well-put sentences delivered in this well-intentioned and high-minded film, I remember Nickleby saying near the end,
"Weakness is tiring, but strength is exhausting."
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