A comic, brutal and passionate take of greed and love in Victorian England. A top-notch cast of veteran actors and rising young newcomers shines in a lavish new British production of the Charles Dickens classic. The hero, ... more »a penniless young gentleman, struggles to make his way in the world and protect his mother and sister, meeting up with the worst and best of humanity along the way. Charles Dance (The Jewel in the Crown) stars as Ralph Nickleby, with James D'Arcy (Rebel Heart) as Nicholas and Sophia Myles (Mansfield Park) as his beautiful sister, Kate. Other standouts include Lee Ingleby (Ever After) as Smike, Nicholas' faithful companion, and Dominic West (28 Days) as the lecherous Sir Mulberry Hawk.« less
Sharon T. from OAK RIDGE, TN Reviewed on 2/15/2011...
This is one of my favorite movies. James D'Arcy is excellent and so is the rest of the cast. Charles Dance always makes a great villian and does so again here.
In my opinion it is the best version of the book pulling the viewer into the plot within the first few minutes.
Nicholas and his family fall on hard times after their fathers death. They move to London to live in one of their uncles apartments and the adventure begins. They meet a host of interesting and at times perplexing people but continue to make the most of life. I won't spoil the end but it always warms my heart.
A Degradation to Dickens
Charity Bishop | 06/23/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)
"By in large, most of Charles Dickens' novels are dark, melancholy, and morbid. But the majority of them have an uplifting ending, and main characters above reproach. "Nicholas Nickleby" is one of his lesser-known volumes, falling to the back of the line in favor of "A Tale of Two Cities" and "David Copperfield." But it's also one of my personal favorites. Thus said, this Bravo adaptation follows it very closely... but I disliked intensely many of the scriptwriter's own "inventions" in dealing with the text. What bleeds through is a strong sexual undercurrent not present in the novel, as well as the defacing of several minor characters who made complete turnarounds in the novel by means of redeeming themselves.The plot in novel form never comes across as being lecherous, even when dealing with Madeline Bray and the seventy-year-old swindler who wants to marry her for her money. Seeing him ogle her on the screen is much more disconcerting, as are the obvious sexual illusions, innuendo, and activity portrayed. Mr. and Mrs. Mantalini are all over each other, Mr. and Mrs. Squeers are constantly trading innuendo on jumping into bed at the earliest opportunity, and Sir Mulberry Hawke's advances toward Nicholas' sister Kate are much more lurid and offensive than in the book... like when he corners her against the pool table, puts his hand down her blouse, and then tries to force himself on her.The acting is quite good, but the offensive elements for me weighed out the fact that this adaptation tries to be faithful to the text. It seems very cold and shallow without any great character development and the climax turns out slightly flat. I would encourage viewers to see the excellent 2002 adaptation by Douglas McGrath, which is all around more faithful to the spirit of Dickens, much less visually offensive, and far better produced.The DVD is fair. The menu is nice, but includes virtually no extras except a photo gallery and menu selection. Since this was produced for TV, there's nothing glowing about the actual production itself. The darkness is slightly grainy, and some closeups seem a bit fuzzy."
How else to explain it? This is Dickens!
Gwen Kramer | Sunny and not-so-sunny California | 02/03/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Charles Dickens- love him or hate him, you must admit that there was never anyone like him. His books are full of social critiques, melodramatic romances, characters so eccentric that they border on crazy and of course jaw dropping coincidences. The books are also wildly entertaining.There has been a revival of Dickens lately in the form of TV mini-series and Nicholas Nickleby is the latest. The title character has just lost his father in death and now, in his late teens, he must find a way to support and protect his sweet sister Kate and somewhat silly mother. Their only relative is their uncle, the greedy and cold Ralph Nickleby.Ralph gets Nicholas a job as a teacher in Yorkshire and Kate a job assisting a dressmaker. Here is where the main problems of the story come into play. Both Kate and Nicholas have the same problems, they are too good looking and talented. That may seem like no problem but they have no money and their equals in station are jealous of them. Also, they have to fend off unwelcome advances at every turn. The young actors playing Kate and Nicholas manage to make their characters good without being saccarine, a challenge to say the least.The Yorkshire school where Nicholas is sent is a horror, the boys are abused particularly the silent waif Smike. Nicholas befriends Smike and then protects him from a beating. Forced to escape with Smike, Nicholas is disowned by his uncle for being ungrateful. He is told that if he sees his sister and mother again, Ralph will throw them into the street. Nicholas agrees to leave but swears vengeance if Kate or his mother suffer in any way at Ralph's hands.This is pretty much how the movie goes, more and more problems come up and the characters escape by the skin of their teeth. The rivalry between Nicholas and Ralph is very well acted and one of the highlights of this miniseries.Dickens purists will doubtlessly complain about the many cuts that had to be made due to time constraints but they were needed for the film to run smoothly. All in all, this is a very good adaptation that does not modernize the tale too much. (This has been a problem in far too many adaptions of the classics, over-modernization)There are abductions, rescues, duels, chases, forced marriages, and one BIG suprise ending. (no Dickens novel is complete without a murder/attempted murder, a suicide and a suprise ending)If you are looking for an old fashioned soaper, this is it. I could not reccommend it for children since some of the abuses at the school are rather disturbing. However, this is how things were in the worse schools in Dickens's time and it is rather an eye-opener. I would say in American ratings, this movie ranges from a PG to a PG-13 so parents will have to make their decisions accordingly."
Marcy Gomez | 02/04/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I've just seen this movie on Bravo. I don't own the dvd but I have every intention of getting it. I've read Nicholas Nickleby at least a dozen times and each time the story is well told. Even while watching it on Bravo, I felt a lump come into my throat for the sister and brother and anger rise up at the uncle and yes, even at the stupidity of the mother. When a movie can still draw you in like that (even when you know what to expect) then it is truly a superb movie with truly excellent acting. This is absolutely a keeper."
K. Giorlando | Eastpointe, Michigan United States | 01/03/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As of this writing I do not have the DVD, but I just watched this version on the Canadian Broadcast Company network, and I must say that I was thoroughly impressed. The casting, the costumes, the 'out of the book' quotes. They have truly accurately portrayed the Victorian era in all its splendor and wretchedness. There's not any bad that I can say about this movie. Ok, there IS one thing: the ending is narrated rather than played out. They could have easily made this one more half hour longer to put it over the top. The Scrooge-like uncle is played to perfection, so well, in fact, that one finds they'd probably rather be with old Ebenezer than Uncle Ralph. That's just one of the variety of characters that you would expect to see in a Dickens novel/movie. There are many more, of course (besides Nicholas Nickleby, who is quite the wallflower compared to nearly everyone else in the story).
When this movie is released on DVD shortly (by the time this is being read, it should already be available), you can bet I will spend my hard earned cash to purchase it!Postscript: I now own the DVD and it is EXCELLENT! The picture quality is so much brighter and clearer than the broadcast version. And best of all, it's in the LETTER BOX format! Truly even better than I thought it would be!"