I am not sure if it was all the time spent wandering the streets of London earlier, but PY and I decided to rent a movie this evening and, given that it was already in the house thanks to LoveFilm.com (formerly dvdsontap) we watched Douglas McGrath’s adaptation of Dickens’ Nicholas Nickleby.
I didn’t know the story and really didn’t know what to expect. I imagined a period drama and, in truth, I only added it to our rental list to see how Charlie Hunnam performed in a role that was so different from some of his previous work. I was very pleasantly surprised indeed.
The story may – or may not – be faithful to the book but as a story of a young man who must look after his family following his father’s death it was very well done. Hunnam was better than I expected, Christopher Plummer as the Uncle was fantastic and Jim Broadbent was wonderful as Squeers the schoolmaster. Juliet Stevenson was also brilliant as his wife, Mrs. Squeers.
What surprised me most was how well the comedy worked. Parts of the story are very bleak but Dickens used comedy as well as tragedy to make his points and it comes out very well. It’s not belly-laugh humour but the wit is straight to the point.
And, being a DVD, I always try and look at the extras. Douglas McGrath’s Director’s commentary shows how much thought goes into the parts of the film that pass you by.
Recommended as a great period drama that plays well today.