Review: The Personal History of David Copperfield

Title: The Personal History of David Copperfield
MPAA Rating: PG
Director: Armando Iannucci
Starring: Dev Patel, Hugh Laurie, Tilda Swinton
Runtime: 1 hr 59 mins

What It Is: A modern retelling of the classic Dicken’s novel center on David Copperfield (Patel). A brilliant young man who is orphaned when his loving father dies and his mother’s new husband is abusive and terrible. Upon being orphaned the boy searches for meaning and purpose in a cruel world that cares little for a singular little boy and his big dreams. With the help of his only living relative, an aunt (Swinton) maybe he can accomplish his goals.

What We Think: Iannucci always brings a tongue that’s firmly planted in his cheek. Here he does it again when telling this tale. Dev Patel is a fantastic actor. He once again brings it. His David Copperfield is a man of some intellect. The same sort of pathos Patel has brought to previous roles of a similar ilk. Iannucci really puts the camera in some interesting places and allows it to work for us. Giving us angles we might not necessarily have gotten from most tellings of this tale. The dialogue here is good. Though I think many are giving it a bit too much credit. All of the acting here is aces and the performances just meld together to form a fantastic tableau of carefully built characters.

Our Grade: A-, I very much enjoyed my time with this. Much like Iannucci’s last film The Death of Stalin, there’s so much satire here. Even at their worst, almost every character is likable and helps establish who David Copperfield is and why he is the way that he is. This is a film that by and large will be dependent upon how much you enjoy his previous film or his television work with Veep (which I do not personally like). As I’ve stated though on he big screen Iannucci just gets it.

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