In a documentary category all by itself, your 15 minutes watching “Pickle” will tickle your “Are they for real” bone. The way producer/director Amy Nicholson captures her parents onscreen is a precious kind of weird.
Debbie and Tom Nicholson collect lots of animals: cats, dogs, chickens, ducks, geese, and other birds. Often, acquisitions involve rescues of medically challenged creatures, such as Pogo the paraplegic possum.
Debbie and Tom name their animals: Pogo or Peanut or Pavarotti or names that don’t start with “P” such as Ginger or Barney or Mr. Bean.
Tom, a workshop-handy guy, enhances care for some of the handicapped animals by building physical aids, including an especially unique one for Pickle the fish.
Tom and Debbie reminisce from their living room sofa. The film craftily weaves together commentary about their animals with snapshots and scenes around their property and cartoon accents that offset accounts of animal deaths and other difficulties.
You’d be hard pressed to fault Debbie and Tom for their obsession – excuse me, devotion. You’d be hard pressed to rate their caring consideration less than 100 percent genuine. You’d be hard pressed to pigeonhole director Nicholson’s sense of humor or to what extent her parents are knowing accomplices.
It’s possible as you watch “Pickle” that you will ask why this film is part of an environmental film festival. When you get to Debbie’s summary philosophy, you’ll have your answer, even if you decide the answer is that people do what people do.