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Nicholas Nickleby



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Unlike the MPAA we do not assign one inscrutable rating based on age, but 3 objective ratings for SEX/NUDITY, VIOLENCE/GORE and PROFANITY on a scale of 0 to 10, from lowest to highest, depending on quantity and context.

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Sex & Nudity
Violence & Gore
1 to 10

MPAA Rating: PG

Adapted from the Charles Dickens novel of loss and survival: 19-year-old Nicholas (Charlie Hunnam) and his family are left penniless after the sudden death of his father, and his sister and mother go to London to seek help from their greedy uncle Ralph (Christopher Plummer). The uncle's intentions are hardly benevolent, and he tries to break up the family by sending Nicholas to a school run by a cruel, abusive headmaster. Also with Jamie Bell, Jim Broadbent and Anne Hathaway. [1:48]

SEX/NUDITY 3 - A man and a woman kiss and hug a few times. A man flirts with a young woman forcibly, pulls a curtain saying, "I'll get what I want," and the young woman runs out from behind the curtain in tears. A young woman is teased by many men and one takes bets that she will not look him in the eye and tell him that, "she does not want him to make love to her"; she runs from the room trembling and in tears. We see a woman's bare legs after she has given birth (we see a bit of blood on the sheets around her and on the baby). We see a portrait of a nude woman in the background of one scene. We see a nude baby boy (including his penis) at the time of delivery. A man is bare-chested. Women wear low-cut dresses that expose cleavage.

VIOLENCE/GORE 4 - A man hangs himself (we see his legs dangle and swing). A shirtless boy is tied by the hands to two beams and a man begins to whip him on the back with a cane, another man takes the cane away and beats the first man into submission. A man is hit on the head with a stick (it looks like an umbrella or a cane), his head starts bleeding, and he then shoves the other man back into a wall and holds a fist up to hit him. A man hits a boy on the head, and he falls to the ground cowering, a woman hits a boy's hand with a spoon, a man hits a boy on the bottom with a cane, a man shoves a boy to the floor, and a man hits a boy with a cane. We hear about a woman operating on a boy's abscessed tooth with a penknife. A boy talks about being kept in a small room and fearing what might come up through a hatch in the floor. A man flirts with a young woman forcibly, pulls a curtain saying "I'll get what I want," and the young woman runs out from behind the curtain in tears. A man puts a bag over a boy's head, drags him away and leaves him tied up in a room. A woman force-feeds boys a mixture that looks like tar (she calls it brimstone) and the boys moan and hold their stomachs. We see the bloody umbilical cord of a newborn child and a pair of scissors open to cut the cord. The storefront of a funeral outfitter has a box on display with what looks like four dead infants (they are tinged blue and it is not plain whether they are real, but they appear to be). A man climbs out a window and breaks through a balcony floor. A man quakes and trembles when he hears of the death of his son, and a boy talks about another boy who died. A bird lies dead on the ground and we hear a man talking about the untimely death of a parent. A boy toils and struggles to do his chores (he is treated as a slave). A man and woman talk about beating boys and starving them. A man says, "I'd ring your neck," a woman says, "I'll beat it out of him." A young man dies and a man grieves by his side, a man dies and a woman cries, and three people grieve at the grave of a man. We see pigs' heads displayed at a street market. A man has a scar on his eyelid causing it to be permanently shut, and a boy's leg and arm are twisted from malnourishment and maltreatment. Children sleep in dirty hay-filled boxes. Writing on a schoolroom wall reads, "fear him who formed thy frame." A family is tormented by a man's desire to make their lives miserable.

PROFANITY 3 - 4 sexual references, 1 mild obscenity, 4 religious exclamations. [profanity glossary]

DISCUSSION TOPICS - Death of a parent, 19th century Britain, strength of character, family, friendship, greed, charity, financial ruin, financial speculation, dignity, debtors' prison, authority, shame, Romeo and Juliet, King Lear, revenge, alcoholism.

MESSAGE - Blood bonds do not make a family; family is made up of those we love and sacrifice for. The great journey of our lives is to find our one true love.

(Note: People drink alcohol in several scenes.)

Special Keywords: S3 - V4 - P3 - MPAAPG

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A CAVEAT: We've gone through several editorial changes since we started covering films in 1992 and some of our early standards were not as stringent as they are now. We therefore need to revisit many older reviews, especially those written prior to 1998 or so; please keep this in mind if you're consulting a review from that period. While we plan to revisit and correct older reviews our resources are limited and it is a slow, time-consuming process.

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