Metro Weekly

The Nature of Nicholas

Reel Affirmations 2003

Review by Randy Shulman

Rating: star (1 out of 5)

Saturday, 10/25/2003, 12:00 PM
Feature presentation, $9 at Lincoln Theatre

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 exampleÂ…

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.

The Nature of Nicholas

Leave a Comment:

Support Metro Weekly’s Journalism

These are challenging times for news organizations. And yet it’s crucial we stay active and provide vital resources and information to both our local readers and the world. So won’t you please take a moment and consider supporting Metro Weekly with a membership? For as little as $5 a month, you can help ensure Metro Weekly magazine and remain free, viable resources as we provide the best, most diverse, culturally-resonant LGBTQ coverage in both the D.C. region and around the world. Memberships come with exclusive perks and discounts, your own personal digital delivery of each week’s magazine (and an archive), access to our Member's Lounge when it launches this fall, and exclusive members-only items like Metro Weekly Membership Mugs and Tote Bags! Check out all our membership levels here and please join us today!