The Personal History of David Copperfield (2020)

The Personal History of David Copperfield poster.jpgDirector: Armando Iannucci
Running Time: 119 Minutes
Rating: PG
Starring: Dev Patel, Tilda Swinton, Hugh Laurie, Peter Capaldi, Ben Whishaw, Paul Whitehouse, Aneurin Barnard, Rosalind Eleazar, Daisy May Cooper, Morfydd Clark, Benedict Wong, Gwendoline Christie, Anthony Welsh, Nikki Amuka-Bird

Best known for his television work, Armando Iannucci is responsible for bringing to life brilliant characters such as Alan Partridge, Selina Meyer, and Malcolm Tucker. But he's also become a force to be reckoned with in cinema, beginning by bringing two of his televisual icons to the big screen, through writing and directing In The Loop, and scripting Alan Partidge: Alpha Papa. He's since moved onto 2017's The Death of Stalin, exceptional as both a comedic farce, and a dark history lesson. Following that up is his latest film, an adaptation that's utterly delightful to spend time in the company of.

Based on the Victorian era novel by Charles Dickens, the life of David Copperfield (Dev Patel) is chronicled from youth to adulthood, in his journey to escape his life as an impoverished orphan, and become a writer. Much of his inspiration comes from writing down his various experiences, and capturing the colourful figures who come through his life.

While there's certainly an eye on class, and especially the lengths one takes to rise in stature, this film isn't as politically charged as Iannucci's other directed efforts. But then, it doesn't have to be, when we're granted the company of such a wonderful cast. Leading the proceedings as the eponymous figure is Dev Patel, putting in a winning performance that inspires affection with such ease. You can't help but feel for Copperfield, as he tries to persevere above the societal status he's been pigeonholed into. As for the rest of the cast, it's difficult to single them out when so many are great, but it's worth mentioning how Hugh Laurie is a regular source of laughter, and Tilda Swinton does delightful work as our lead's Donkey hating aunt.

If there were any criticisms to be made, I do wish the ending didn't feel so rushed while trying to wrap things up. It's a shame, but it doesn't detract from such a lovable feature. What we're left with is a 119 minute film that's bursting with charm, leaving you to feel for the characters, and also laugh your socks off.

The Personal History of David Copperfield is released in the UK on January 24th 2020, and in the US on May 8th 2020