Nicholas Nickleby (Charlie Hunnam) has to somehow take care of his mother and young sister after his father dies. The family is poor, although both children are well educated. Not knowing what to do, they appeal to their wealthy uncle Ralph (Christopher Plummer) in London. Ralph, a cynical businessman, reluctantly helps by finding them a place to live and sending Nicholas away to work at a boarding school. Nicholas is appalled by all the abuse he sees at the school. It does not take long for him to stand up against the cruel schoolmaster Squeers, which ends his employment. Nicholas flees the school together with a crippled student he'd saved from beating, Smike. They join a traveling theater, and things seem to go well - until Nicholas finds out that his sister Kate is mstreated by Uncle Ralph. He rushes to London to help her.
Based on a Charles Dickens's novel, Nicholas Nickleby has plenty of thoughtful observations; like all good classics, if affirms that good character matters, and doing evil things is dangerous because evil tends to return to those who are fond of it. The story seemed a bit rushed to me at some points, I guess because the moviemakers had to stuff an 800 page long novel into a two hour movie. A mini-series would have done the novel more justice. Still, I would say this adaptation of the story is quite good.
Extra features offer an interesting insight into Charles Dickens's life, commentary from the director and cast, "the making of, " and a trailer.