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Nicholas Nickleby (2002)



Average Rating: 6.8/10
Reviews Counted: 123
Fresh: 95 | Rotten: 28

Thanks to a strong cast of experienced actors and director Douglas McGrath's steady hand, Nicholas Nickleby is a worthy and respectful adaptation of the Dickens novel.


Average Rating: 6.4/10
Critic Reviews: 32
Fresh: 24 | Rotten: 8

Thanks to a strong cast of experienced actors and director Douglas McGrath's steady hand, Nicholas Nickleby is a worthy and respectful adaptation of the Dickens novel.



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Average Rating: 3.6/5
User Ratings: 9,717

My Rating

Movie Info

One of Charles Dickens' best-loved (and most complex) stories receives its fourth feature film adaptation in this lively historical comedy-drama. Nicholas Nickleby (Charlie Hunnam) is a 19-year-old who becomes the head of the family when his father dies unexpectedly. Keeping watch over his mother (Stella Gonet) and his sister Kate (Romola Garai) becomes an even greater challenge when Nicholas discovers that his father lost the family fortune due to ill-advised investments. Without a shilling to




Douglas McGrath

Jul 22, 2003


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All Critics (136) | Top Critics (36) | Fresh (95) | Rotten (28) | DVD (20)

There's a bevy of hiss-worthy baddies to pick up the dramatic slack, beginning with Plummer's wonderfully nefarious Uncle Ralph.

January 18, 2003 Full Review Source: Toronto Star | Comment (1)
Toronto Star
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The film is enriched by an imaginatively mixed cast of antic spirits, headed by Christopher Plummer as the subtlest and most complexly evil Uncle Ralph I've ever seen in the many film and stage adaptations of the work.

January 16, 2003 Full Review Source: New York Observer
New York Observer
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A beguiling evocation of the quality that keeps Dickens evergreen: the exuberant openness with which he expresses our most basic emotions.

January 13, 2003 Full Review Source: TIME Magazine
TIME Magazine
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A terrific adaptation with a delightful cast and a speedy pace that defies belief, considering its lengthy source.

January 10, 2003 Full Review Source: Miami Herald
Miami Herald
Top Critic IconTop Critic

With Dickens' words and writer-director Douglas McGrath's even-toned direction, a ripping good yarn is told.

January 10, 2003 Full Review Source: Houston Chronicle
Houston Chronicle
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's just sort of there, one more adaptation of a long rambling Charles Dickens soap opera well-stocked with respected British actors playing painfully stereotypical characters.

January 10, 2003 Full Review Source: Detroit News
Detroit News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

a pleasurable ride

January 28, 2012 Full Review Source: Old School Reviews
Old School Reviews

Respectful adaptation of rich Dickens novel.

December 26, 2010 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

An absolutely entertaining, well acted, and well-directed film adaptation.

April 29, 2009 Full Review Source: Cinema Crazed
Cinema Crazed

Ultimately the film leans toward the blandness of its star.

February 1, 2009 Full Review Source: | Comment (1)

Filled with exquisite craftsmanship bringing the Charles Dickens' classic to life, Nicholas Nickleby is an intricate, absorbing saga about the triumph of goodness over evil.

November 7, 2003 Full Review Source: Urban Cinefile
Urban Cinefile

the perfect resource for students who've balked at the book's brick-like dimensions but who have an exam on it the next day, and need a quick overview

October 26, 2003 Full Review Source: FILMINK (Australia)
FILMINK (Australia)

Does a respectable job of retelling as much of Dickens’ tale as possible in the time alloted.

September 12, 2003 Full Review Source: Decent Films Guide
Decent Films Guide

A light and brisk take on the account of Nicholas, a typically Dickensian hero who faces all sorts of Victorian adversity only to triumph in the end.

September 6, 2003
Las Vegas Weekly

A Dickens classic is brought to the screen in a reduced -- but still rewarding -- film adaptation.

July 30, 2003 Full Review Source: Netflix

...the poor are ennobled and the rich are demonized. It's only as it should be.

July 20, 2003 Full Review Source: Movie Metropolis
Movie Metropolis

...wonderfully entertaining and remarkably coherent..

March 10, 2003
Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)

The film clocks in at a little more than two hours; yet this Reader's Digest approach is remarkably fluid and full-bodied.

February 26, 2003
Creative Loafing

McGrath's mild and minor abridgment of Charles Dickens' Nicholas Nickleby glides by so painlessly we never feel we're being oppressed by "classic literature."

February 16, 2003 Full Review
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

writer/director Douglas McGrath has efficiently and effectively pared down his source material to craft a consistently engaging and frequently hilarious film version that runs just over two hours and feels half that

February 9, 2003 Full Review Source: Q Network Film Desk
Q Network Film Desk

Many shallower movies these days seem too long, but this one is egregiously short.

January 31, 2003 Full Review Source: Charlotte Observer
Charlotte Observer

Nicholas Nickleby may be the only two-hour, 15-minute movie this year that feels like it's going by too fast.

January 31, 2003 Full Review Source: Salt Lake Tribune
Salt Lake Tribune

Dozens of characters deserve more exploration, so most of the cast is given very little to do, and scant few minutes to do it in.

January 31, 2003 Full Review Source: Eclipse Magazine
Eclipse Magazine

The supporting cast alone is the worth of this film - see it for them.

January 25, 2003 Full Review

Beautiful sets and costumes, cardboard characters.

January 24, 2003 Full Review Source: St. Paul Pioneer Press
St. Paul Pioneer Press

Wow, so who knew Charles Dickens could be so light-hearted?

January 24, 2003 Full Review Source: Deseret News, Salt Lake City
Deseret News, Salt Lake City

Audience Reviews for Nicholas Nickleby

Nicholas Nickelby was a film I was looking forward to watching since it has Charlie Hunnam in it (such a hottie). I love him in Sons of Anarchy. I haven't seen him in many movies though. I really loved him and Jamie Bell's performances. Their characters were the only interesting ones of the bunch. I think everyone did an amazing job in their parts. Well, besides Anne Hathaway. She was forgettable. To prove that point, I almost forgot she was in it until I saw her picture reminding me she was indeed part of the cast.
The story really isn't what I was expecting. I'm not sure why I thought this was going to be a fun and silly period film. I ended up with quite the opposite of that. I didn't mind though. I did have a few laughs. It was all in the most inappropriate moments, which happens a lot. I got some annoyed glances but I can't help I'm a bit awkward with emotional crap, oh well. Smike's story is really sad and I think Bell did such a great job in the roll. The Squeers are awful people. I wanted to go through the screen and beat Mrs. Squeer with that spoon.
The movie was a bit too long for my liking. I think it could have done without some scenes. Probably not something I would watch again, but not something I regret seeing.
March 19, 2013

Super Reviewer

Charlie Hunnam shows great skills portraying Nicholas Nickleby. Having seen him in other roles with very diverse characters, this young man will be around the acting game as long as he wants. The story is somewhat predicable but adding Jamie Belle, Christopher Plummer, and Anne Hathaway in the mix and the story becomes a grand performance.
March 13, 2011

Super Reviewer

A movie where honor wins. So seldom do you hear about integrity in today's world, and this was a movie about being true to yourself, believing in your values and the balance of cruelty and kindness. Great performances by all. Nicely done!
December 13, 2010

Super Reviewer

Neat to look at. Pretty classic stuff I suppose.
November 19, 2007
Curtis Lilly

Super Reviewer

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