Reviews - Nicholas Nickleby (2002)
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Nicholas Nickleby (2002)

Genres: Drama, Romance

Taglines: Every family needs a hero.

Director: Douglas McGrath

Writers: Charles Dickens, Douglas McGrath

Stars: Stella Gonet, Andrew Havill, Henry McGrath, Hugh Mitchell, ...

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.

90 | David Rooney

A delightful experience.
Read More: Variety

90 | J.R. Jones

As this wonderful adaptation reminds us, Dickens endures mostly because of his characters.
Read More: Chicago Reader

90 | Richard Schickel

Now and then McGrath's film feels a bit rushed and breathless, but mostly you sink gratefully into its handsomely staged plenitude.
Read More: Time

88 | Roger Ebert

The actors assembled for Nicholas Nickleby are not only well cast, but well typecast. Each one by physical appearance alone replaces a page or more of Dickens' descriptions, allowing McGrath to move smoothly and swiftly through the story without laborious introductions.
Read More: Chicago Sun-Times

88 | Ty Burr

A rambunctious joy.
Read More: Boston Globe

83 | Lisa Schwarzbaum

At a little over two hours, this is a pared-down but no less essential Dickensian feast.
Read More: Entertainment Weekly

80 | Jessica Winter

The entire unwieldy contraption rests on the shoulders of erstwhile "Queer as Folk" jailbait Hunnam: Bleached and bland, earnest and wooden, he's exactly what the film asks him to be.
Read More: Village Voice

80 | Peter Rainer

Showcases some of the world’s finest and funniest actors having a high old time. It’s best enjoyed as a kind of traveling music-hall revue.
Read More: New York Magazine (Vulture)

80 | Gregory Weinkauf

If you're after some family-friendly classic lit at the multiplex, here 'tis.
Read More: Dallas Observer

78 | Marjorie Baumgarten

Although Nicholas Nickleby occasionally evidences a simplicity that resembles a Junior Scholastic production, the movie's enthusiasm is contagious.
Read More: Austin Chronicle

75 | Claudia Puig

This mid-19th century tale of survival after the death of a parent is still compelling today, and its message of strength and the importance of family continues to resonate.
Read More: USA Today

75 | Liam Lacey

You probably have a better chance of stuffing an octopus into a tea cup than capturing one of Dickens's fat novels in a two-hour movie.
Read More: The Globe and Mail (Toronto)

75 | William Arnold

Anyone who goes in this movie expecting a rollicking comedy is in for a shock. Its scant humor is dry as the Sahara and, like all Dickens stories, its upbeat ending is never quite convincing enough to offset the horrors of the journey toward it.
Read More: Seattle Post-Intelligencer

75 | James Berardinelli

As a means to bring a classic novel to the attention of a modern audience, McGrath's Nicholas Nickleby is a success.
Read More: ReelViews

75 | Mick LaSalle

It's a generous tale, told through big performances by a talented cast, presenting a range of colorful characters that only Dickens could have created.
Read More: San Francisco Chronicle

75 | Jonathan Foreman

A triumph of intelligent adaptation. It shows again how well the great Victorian storyteller translates to film, and makes enjoyable use of a generally first-rate cast.
Read More: New York Post

75 | Robert K. Elder

McGrath's version of Nicholas Nickleby cashes in on age-old show biz wisdom of "always leave 'em wanting more." It's a pity we're only allowed such a small nibble of one of Dickens' richest works.
Read More: Chicago Tribune

75 | Peter Travers

Christopher Plummer steals the show without resorting to camp as Nicholas' wounded and wounding Uncle Ralph. It's a great performance and a reminder of Dickens' grandeur. This Cliff's Notes of a film, though lively fun, only hints at that.
Read More: Rolling Stone

75 | Marc Mohan

An enjoyable sojourn into the world of Dickens and could inspire a trend. Shakespeare and Austen have had their Hollywood moments during the past few years; why not the proto-Hollywood Dickens?
Read More: Portland Oregonian

75 | Connie Ogle

McGrath has managed to turn Dickens into a cozy date movie. When was the last time anybody could make that claim?
Read More: Miami Herald

75 | David Sterritt

It's an uneven film, but Dickens admirers shouldn't miss it.
Read More: Christian Science Monitor

70 | Manohla Dargis

McGrath, who adapted the novel, manages to catch the flavor of it without its tang.
Read More: Los Angeles Times

70 | Dana Stevens

The director has produced a colorful, affecting collage of Dickensian moods and motifs, a movie that elicits an overwhelming desire to plunge into 900 pages of 19th-century prose.
Read More: The New York Times

63 | Michael Sragow

Plummer's performance is a miracle: In a movie as flat as a tablecloth, he suggests dimensions as wide, deep and curved as Cinerama.
Read More: Baltimore Sun

63 | Lawrence Toppman

Many shallower movies these days seem too long, but this one is egregiously short.
Read More: Charlotte Observer

63 | Jack Mathews

Given the tragic events that actually happen, "Nickleby" ends not knowing what it was supposed to be. But those first two acts are nearly worth the price of admission.
Read More: New York Daily News

60 | Stephanie Zacharek

To paraphrase a line from another Dickens' novel, Nicholas Nickleby is too much like a fragment of an underdone potato. The chef tended it very, very carefully, and still, it didn't turn out quite right.
Read More:

60 | Ken Fox

On the whole, it all goes down rather smoothly. Those left wanting more are referred to the RSC's monumental production, now available on DVD, or better yet, to Dickens's original novel.
Read More: TV Guide Magazine

60 | Ella Taylor

In his capable, yet only mildly exciting, adaptation of Charles Dickens’ third novel, Douglas McGrath (Emma) keeps reminding us that what we’re seeing is theater. This feels gratuitous.
Read More: L.A. Weekly

60 | Phil Hall

McGrath's new film offers a treat for fans of Dickens and moviegoers who love to see a fairly large cast ham it up with delirious abandon.
Read More: Film Threat

50 | Ann Hornaday

Whether the entire production comes off as classy or cloying depends entirely on the viewer's mood.
Read More: Washington Post

50 | Desson Thomson

Watchable, certainly. It should have been so much more.
Read More: Washington Post