Nicholas Nickleby

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(out of 5)


After the abysmal Company Man, writer-director Douglas McGrath returns to the formula that previously yielded him the delightful Emma.   is terrific as the titular hero in this winning adaptation of Dickens’s popular novel, a young Victorian-era nineteen year-old who is suddenly thrust to the head of the household when his father passes away and leaves him in charge of taking care of his mother and sister. Making their way from the country to the big city of London, the family takes refuge in the home of their heartless uncle (), from whom they beg some help in terms of finding employment; unfortunately, they have no idea what manner of evil he is capable of. Nicholas is sent to work at a horrific boarding school, while his sister is given employment as a dressmaker’s assistant but also ends up being part of Plummer’s apparent plan to break into the world of pimping. Billy Elliot‘s  further proves a natural gift in acting as the mistreated young boy that Nicholas discovers at the boarding school and eventually takes under his wing. The original story has been beautifully pared down to a two-hour running time, and though the narrative sometimes jerks here and there in ways that make it obvious that it comes from a much larger source, it is nevertheless incredibly enjoyable. All the performances are pristine, most especially Plummer and a fabulous  as his good-hearted manservant. Also features roles performed by , a terrifying , , , , Dame Edna Everidge (!) and  (Emma‘s Miss Bates).


United Artists Film Corporation, Hart-Sharp Entertainment, Potboiler Productions

United Kingdom/USA, 2002

Directed by Douglas McGrath

Screenplay by Douglas McGrath, based on the novel by

Cinematography by

Produced by , ,

Music by

Production Design by

Costume Design by

Film Editing by


Golden Globe Awards:   2002


NicholasNickleby

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