Becoming Mike Nichols

Directed by Douglas McGrath

Starring Mike Nichols and Jack O'Brien

This intimate portrait of director, producer, and improvisational comedy icon Mike Nichols shows his final and historic interviews filmed just months before his death. Director Douglas McGrath documents Nichols’s early life, as he opens up to his friend, director Jack O’Brien, about the storied beginnings of his career.


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  • ★★★½ review by Andrew Cochran on Letterboxd

    There was some fantastic information about THE GRADUATE, and it was wonderful hearing this all straight from the horse's mouth. Perhaps a step above the average talking heads/interview docs, but not much. I love Nichols, though; so, if you're a fan of Nichols, you should probably watch this.

  • ★★★★ review by PaulLyons on Letterboxd

    Terrific, yet all too brief, documentary featuring the last interview from the great theater, television and film director Mike Nichols. Shot in 2014, director Douglas McGrath used both public and private interviews with Nichols, conducted by theater/television director Jack O'Brien to create BECOMING MIKE NICHOLS.

    Tracing Nichols' life from his early years in Germany in the 1930's, to life in America and his time in Chicago, where he met the woman who would change his life: Elaine May. The Nichols-May partnership and act was very successful on stage and on television for its use of improvisational comedy. Once the partnership was over, Nichols eventually became a successful theater director with big hits such as "Barefoot In The Park" as well as "The Odd Couple." This led to his first film WHO'S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOLF?, and the iconic 60'S classic THE GRADUATE.

    Despite declining health, Mike Nichols was still sharp, and fun and witty, and very expressive in his candor discussing working with the likes of Elaine May, Art Carney, Walter Matthau, Richard Burton, Elizabeth Taylor, and Dustin Hoffman, as well as encounters with the likes of Neil Simon, Edward Albee, Lillian Hellman, and Jack Warner.

    BECOMING MIKE NICHOLS is a fascinating look at a great artist, and sadly only covers Nichols' career up until the time he won the Oscar for Best Director in 1968 for THE GRADUATE. Left on the table are what one would suppose are the great stories about the 19 other film and telefilms he had made since that time. No matter. Even at only 72 minutes, BECOMING MIKE NICHOLS delivers the goods on profiling a great man.

  • ★★★½ review by Njabs Phungula on Letterboxd

    There isn't a lot of new stuff to pick up here but I love that we get to hear everything straight from the horse's mouth.

  • ★★★★ review by Elias Michel on Letterboxd

    Mike Nichols didn't died, he just took the same bus that Benjamin Braddock and Elaine.

  • ★★★★ review by Ken Rudolph on Letterboxd

    Celebrated stage and film director Mike Nichols sat down and reminisced about his early career with his literate colleague Jack O'Brien, both in front of a theatrical audience and just the two of them. The two conversations were then intercut into one fascinating and informative narrative. Eschewing the biographical documentary form, the film falls somewhere between a conversation - something like My Dinner with Andre - and a Q&A session with an aging, but still sharp, celebrity. The conversation was limited to Nichol's early life and career, from his improvisational collaboration with Elaine May to his first theatrical and cinematic directorial achievements, with frequent insertion of illustrative filmed and video excerpts (comedy sketches, his first play, "Barefoot in the Park," and early films like Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, and The Graduate.) [personal note: I happened to be working as an assistant editor on another project at the Goldwyn Studio when that latter film was in post-production, and stumbled into one of the scoring and dubbing close as I ever came to being in the same room as Nichols, though I didn't actually encounter Simon & Garfunkel, who were my heroes at the time .] Bottom line: spending time with Nichols just before his untimely passing was an unmitigated pleasure.

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