Nicholas Nickleby
PG
Entertainment: +3
Acceptability: -1

Based on Dickens? novel ?The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby,? this drama is set in 19th Century England. After his father dies, 19-year-old Nicholas (Charlie Hunnam) takes his mother (Stella Gonet) and sister (Romola Garai) to London to seek help from his wealthy uncle, Ralph Nickleby (Christopher Plummer). But wicked Uncle Ralph has no use for his relatives, sending Nicholas off to teach at a boys? school, where sadistic headmaster Wackford Squeers (Jim Broadbent) and his cruel wife (Juliet Stevenson) delight in abusing the boys. One day when Wackford is beating Smike, a crippled boy (Jamie Bell), Nicholas turns on Squeers and beats him with his own rod. He and Smike leave the school, set out to be reunited with Nicholas? family, and run into some interesting characters along the way. Nicholas gets a good job enabling him to support his family and falls for Madeline Bray (Anne Hathaway). But trouble arises when his Uncle Ralph schemes to destroy him, first by having Smike kidnapped by the awful Squeers.

Nicholas Nickleby is a Golden Globe nominee for Best Picture/Musical or Comedy. And the cast won Best Ensemble from the National Board of Review. The film effectively shows the atrocious conditions of the era?s shoddy boarding schools, which were a notch above that of prisons. In the midst of the darkness of poverty, abuse and cruelty, good prevails in this drama. Good-looking, British actor Charlie Hunnam does a great job as the righteous Nicholas Nickleby. And Jamie Bell portrays Smike with such feeling that we hurt for him and his wretched childhood lived. Christopher Plummer, a veteran of both stage and screen, portrays the evil Uncle Ralph with convincing finesse. If not for moderate violence and sexual content, this great story with its depth and a wonderful cast would have received a positive rating.

Preview Reviewer: Lynn Nusser
Distributor: MGM

Summary
Crude Language: None
Obscene Language: None
Profanity: None
Violence: Several times (boys in the school beaten by Squeers and his wife, Nicholas gets into fights defending Smike and his sister)
Sexual Intercourse: None
Nudity: None
Homosexual Conduct: One time (transvestite ?wife? is played by Barry Humphries; some reviewers see homosexual undertones between Nicholas and Smike, but Preview does not agree, instead seeing their relationship as a deep friendship)
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: Few times (men comment to Nicholas? sister about making love; one of Uncle Ralph?s friends tries to force himself on Nicholas? sister; conversation between Ralph and one of his friends about Madeline Bray)
Drug Abuse: Alcohol use in some scenes; Ralph?s butler has drinking problem
Other: None
Running Time: 132 minutes
Intended Audience: Teens and adults

Copyright Preview Family Movie Review (www.previeoOnline.org)