Picks and Pans Review: Nicholas' Gift
Show of the week
Here is a TV movie that clearly aims to make you cry and almost certainly will succeed. But the emotions evoked by this true story are too honest, deep and universal for Nicholas' Gift to be dismissed as a tearjerker.
Jamie Lee Curtis and Alan Bates play Maggie and Reg Green, a California couple vacationing in Italy in 1994 with their children, 7-year-old Nicholas (Gene Wexler) and 4-year-old Eleanor (Hallie Kate Eisenberg). In a terrifying night attack, masked highway bandits shoot Nicholas in the head. Doctors declare him brain-dead. Though their grief is overwhelming, the Greens have the presence of mind and generosity of spirit to donate the boy's organs—a gesture that moves a country previously resistant to this practice. The film pulls awfully hard on viewers' heartstrings, but pay attention as Curtis's Maggie stands watch near her son's hospital bed and sorrow squeezes her throat before she can finish the Lord's Prayer. There's something real here, something that can make a whole television audience feel like one family.
Bottom Line: A rare gift for viewers too