The Personal History of David Copperfield

Charles Dickens was one of the great writers in British literature writing such classics as A Christmas Carol, Oliver Twist, and A Tale of Two Cities. Many of his works have been adapted into movies and shows. The novel David Copperfield has been no exception. The latest version of the adaptation is a full movie is called The Personal History of David Copperfield.

The film follows the life of David Copperfield (Dev Patel) from his birth to the success of his writing focusing on a group of eccentric characters he met along the way.

I found this movie to be remarkably entertaining, funnier than I expected it to be, and filled with tremendous performances. The characters are a hoot and everything blended together seamlessly.

The cast is stellar. Dev Patel makes a wonderful titular character and he plays off the weirdness of the others around him perfectly. Tilda Swinton is masterful as his Aunt Betsey from the first moment she was on screen at his birth. Swinton is utterly hilarious throughout, from the desire for David to have been born a boy to the obsession with donkeys. Swinton gave one of the best supporting performances of the year so far.

Hugh Laurie and Peter Capaldi were fantastic as well in two similar, yet distinct characters. The whole kite bit in the story with Laurie was beautifully written and acted. Ben Whishaw as the little creep Uriah Heep provided a necessary foil for the entourage. The alcohol-obsessed Mr. Wickfield (Benedict Wong) was comedic gold. Rosalind Eleazar is one of the more interesting appearing stars of the film and had some great chemistry with Patel and Wong. Aneurin Barnard’s Steerforth was a major piece to the film, including one of the more emotional moments, but I did find this character somewhat inconsistent.

There were some moments that I was confused because of the sheer number of characters involved in David Copperfield’s life. There were a few that did not stand out as much as the ones that I have already mentioned and only served as a distraction.

The film looked marvelous and it was truly funny and filled with wit. I had not expected to enjoy this as much as I did, but it was a enjoyable ride all through.

4.1 stars

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