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.