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
Timothy Spall previously appeared in The Royal Shakespeare Company's landmark 9-hour stage adaptation of The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby (1980), playing Mr. Folair and Young Wackford. He had left the company by the time it was filmed for television as The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby (1982) and thus does not appear in that mini series. See more »
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 »
Greetings again from the darkness. Truly exceptional adaptation of Dickens really shows how terrific writing can allow a film to work. Yes, the cast was very capable and in fact, Christopher Plummer was multi-layered, pure evil as Uncle Ralph. The Squeers team of veterans Jim Broadbent and Juliet Stevenson made escape from their "school" seem the only rational approach. Charlie Hunnam is gorgeous and capable as Nicholas, and herein lies the problem. While not for the youngest of kids, those 12 and up would probably enjoy the movie very much. As a way to touch Dickens, this is easily the least painful and most accessible for 7th through 12th graders. Why aren't audience was filled with 40 and 50 somethings who read the novel growing up and a few (like me) brought teenagers with them. My daughter and her friends loved it! Very frustrating that studios will sink millions into drawing crowds for trash like "Planet of the Apes", "XXX", "Blue Crush", etc but almost nothing into this. Of course, this offers an education in story structure and the supporting casting was inspired. In addition to Hunnam, Anne Hathaway ("Princess Diaries"), Jamie Bell ("Billy Elliot"), Nathan Lane and Alan Cumming were all excellent. Tom Courtenay was funny and pitiful at the same time. Yes, the story is like much of Dickens, it provides hope for those who seem to have little. Good prevails over evil. Personally, I like that approach.
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