The Personal History of David Copperfield

The Personal History of David Copperfield

The Personal History of David Copperfield

Veep creator Armando Iannucci (The Death of Stalin) directs Dev Patel (Slumdog Millionaire) as the titular character in this feature adaptation of Charles Dickens's masterpiece. The supporting cast includes Tilda Swinton, Hugh Laurie and Ben Wishaw.

"Born six months after the death of his father, David (Patel) is lucky to be raised by a loving mother. But when Mum weds the dour Edward Murdstone, David is shipped off to the cottage — actually a capsized boat — of his housekeeper's family. These peculiar accommodations prove to be only the first of David's numerous temporary abodes, which include an oppressive boarding school and the home of his eccentric aunt Betsey Trotwood (Swinton). Wherever David goes, whether living in poverty or comfort, he writes pithy impressions of all those he encounters — impressions that will one day constitute his autobiography." (Toronto International Film Festival)

2019Rating: PG, Mild themes and violence119 minsUK, USA
ComedyDrama
91%
want to see

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Reviews & comments

Flicks

Flicks, Matt Glasby

flicks

Featuring split-screen sections à la Brian De Palma, and sped-up bits à la Benny Hill, it all passes in too much of a blur for the drama or any of Dickens’ politic points to properly land. But then it was originally published as a serial over 12 months so what can you expect? Perhaps it’s best thought of as a lush literary panto, made with wit and affection.

3.0

Enjoyable, but not memorable

Based on the Charles Dickens novel, The Personal History, Adventures, Experience and Observation of David Copperfield the Younger of Blunderstone Rookery, The Personal History of David Copperfield is not about the American Magician. A period autobiographical piece, this work of fiction is largely inspired by Charles Dickens' own experiences. The film is...

4.0
Total Film

Total Film

press

A fleet-footed and boisterously enjoyable Dickens adaptation that breathes new life into a well-worn story. A winning Dev Patel leads a highly amusing cast.

4.0
Time Out

Time Out

press

On brightly lit lawns captured by cockeyed Terry Gilliam-esque camera angles, the film comes to fizzy, jaunty life - nearly all of Iannucci's aggression has been squeezed into storyboarding.

3.0
Screen Daily

Screen Daily

press

A treat for Dickens fans, The Personal History Of David Copperfield is so alive and immediate that it should also connect with an audience who would never dream of tackling a weighty 19th century tome.

Vanity Fair

Vanity Fair

press

It's the sort of movie that gives nearly every character a thoughtful closeup before, somewhat fantastically, bringing most of them back together at the end for a tender sendoff.

The Guardian

The Guardian

press

It's a story that remains as witty and resilient as its main character and its charms, like David's, remain impossible to resist.

4.0
Variety

Variety

press

Like some kind of long-lost Monty Python sketch, Iannucci's revisionist "David Copperfield" alternates between intellect and absurdity, blending high- and lowbrow elements.

Hollywood Reporter

Hollywood Reporter

press

A fast-moving yarn, sometimes hilarious and always entertaining.

Flicks

Flicks, Matt Glasby

flicks

Featuring split-screen sections à la Brian De Palma, and sped-up bits à la Benny Hill, it all passes in too much of a blur for the drama or any of Dickens’ politic points to properly land. But then it was originally published as a serial over 12 months so what can you expect? Perhaps it’s best thought of as a lush literary panto, made with wit and affection.

3.0
Total Film

Total Film

press

A fleet-footed and boisterously enjoyable Dickens adaptation that breathes new life into a well-worn story. A winning Dev Patel leads a highly amusing cast.

4.0
Time Out

Time Out

press

On brightly lit lawns captured by cockeyed Terry Gilliam-esque camera angles, the film comes to fizzy, jaunty life - nearly all of Iannucci's aggression has been squeezed into storyboarding.

3.0
Screen Daily

Screen Daily

press

A treat for Dickens fans, The Personal History Of David Copperfield is so alive and immediate that it should also connect with an audience who would never dream of tackling a weighty 19th century tome.

Vanity Fair

Vanity Fair

press

It's the sort of movie that gives nearly every character a thoughtful closeup before, somewhat fantastically, bringing most of them back together at the end for a tender sendoff.

The Guardian

The Guardian

press

It's a story that remains as witty and resilient as its main character and its charms, like David's, remain impossible to resist.

4.0
Variety

Variety

press

Like some kind of long-lost Monty Python sketch, Iannucci's revisionist "David Copperfield" alternates between intellect and absurdity, blending high- and lowbrow elements.

Hollywood Reporter

Hollywood Reporter

press

A fast-moving yarn, sometimes hilarious and always entertaining.

Enjoyable, but not memorable

Based on the Charles Dickens novel, The Personal History, Adventures, Experience and Observation of David Copperfield the Younger of Blunderstone Rookery, The Personal History of David Copperfield is not about the American Magician. A period autobiographical piece, this work of fiction is largely inspired by Charles Dickens' own experiences. The film is...

4.0