The Nature of Nicholas Reel Affirmations 13: Washington DC Gay and Lesbian Film Festival

Date: Saturday, 10/25/2003
Time: 12:00 pm

Venue: Lincoln Theatre
Tickets: $9

Type: Feature presentation

Metro Weekly Rating: (1 out of 5)

by Randy Shulman

The Nature of NicholasIF MOVIES WERE doldrums, The Nature of Nicholas would be the biggest ever, running about twice as long as it needs to be -- a result of prolonged static silences between each and every line of dialogue.

For example

Nicholas: "I like it here."

1-one-thousand, 2-one-thousand, 3-one-thousand, 4-one-thousand, 5-one-thousand, 6-one-thousand, 7-one-thou--

Mother: "I used to." The whole film -- THE WHOLE FILM -- is played out in this misery-inducing fashion.

Indeed, misery infects The Nature of Nicholas like a cancer as 12-year-old Nicky comes to grips with feelings for his friend Bobby. But after stealing a kiss from Bobby, who reacts with abject disgust, things get strange. Creepy strange. Night of the Living Libido strange.

The Nature of NicholasThe personification of Bobby's repressed gay self shows up at Nicky's house as a decaying, barely mobile zombie. Nicky keeps the -- thing -- under his bed, tending to it like a pet. Soon thereafter, the REAL Bobby appears at Nick's door and insists Nicky give the -- thing -- back. "It's mine, after all," he reasons.

If that weren't bizarre enough, Nicky's deceased father begins appearing to the boy, communicating by ramming a surgeon-gloved hand into the backs (and sometimes rumps) of Nicky's morose mother and her effusive new gentleman friend, manipulating them like ventriloquist's dummies. It's a ghoulish ploy that seems only to have been included to add a splash of bright-red blood to the otherwise drab proceedings.

Nicholas is a wan and woeful experience, wielding its metaphors like a really big sledgehammer. We don't just get the point, it's beaten into us with tedium, excruciating tedium. To star in his film, Erbach has found two of the most personality-bereft kids alive: Jeff Sutton and David Turnbull, who play Nicky and Bobby as though encased in an soporific stupor. Maybe now that it's over, they're off somewhere in the Great White North, roaming, playing, free to be kids again.

More information

Film Links:
· Reel Affirmations details
· Internet Movie Database
· Official film site

Festival Venue:
Lincoln Theatre
1215 U Street, NW; Washington, DC 20009. (202) 328-6000. (map)
Directly across from Green Line Metro / U Street-Cardozo station.

You may buy your tickets or passes in advance: Online at or by phone at (800) 494-TIXS (494-8497). Or you may visit the Lincoln Theatre (1215 U Street, NW, WDC); the DCJCC (1529 16th Street, NW, WDC); Lambda Rising (1625 Connecticut Avenue, NW, WDC); or Universal Gear (1601 17th Street, NW, WDC).

For more info visit the official Reel Affirmations website.