Holiday Movie Preview: Nicholas Nickleby

STARRING: Charlie Hunnam, Jamie Bell, Jim Broadbent, Tom Courtenay, Christopher Plummer, Edward Fox DIRECTED BY: Douglas McGrath

Think about it. Have you ever seen a bad movie based on a Dickens novel? Rich in characters, abustle with action, aswarm with heart-stopping coincidences, the great writer's creations constitute the most cinematic body of work in all literature. The only problem they present to the filmmaker is length; the art of their adaptation always lies in paring down.

It is a challenge writer-director Douglas McGrath is very largely up to in Nicholas Nickleby. Now and then his film feels a bit rushed and breathless, but mostly you sink gratefully into its handsomely staged plenitude.

In great measure that's because it...

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