The Personal History of David Copperfield
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The Personal History of David Copperfield

The Personal History of David Copperfield armando Iannucci’s terrifically likable, genial adaptation of Charles The Personal History of David Copperfield Dickens’s David Copperfield taps into the author’s humanity and optimism, if perhaps at the expense of the novel’s darker side. The sad fate of Copperfield’s love Dora is not included, and also missing are a number of famous lines. Fans coming to this movie hoping to mouth along to greatest hits such as “Annual income 20 pounds …” or “Barkis is willin’” may find themselves frustrated. But Iannucci and co-writer Simon Blackwell are concerned, in their adroit and lighthearted way, to start afresh, to tilt the interpretation a bit, to bring in a diverse cast and to re-emphasise Copperfield’s search not just for happiness but for identity, and specifically his own identity as a writer. They do it with tremendous joie de vivre.

I found myself thinking of George Orwell’s comment on Dickens: “The wolf is at the door, but he is wagging his tail.” There is a driving force of hopeful tailwag energy here, and a relish for the drama and absurdity, the larger-than-life characters and the pure, almost dreamlike craziness of everything that’s going on. In some ways, Iannucci has gone back to the sketch-comedy world he was in before making challengingly dark or satirical material such as The Thick of It or Veep. There’s a tiny surreal hint of Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life, and it works really well. I should also say that Hugh Laurie’s lovely performance as the sweet-natured Mr Dick is the kind of portrayal he gave us before his more sexily mature roles in House, Veep or The Night Manager; there’s a bit of his Bertie Wooster, or the Prince Regent from Blackadder. As well as everything else, it’s funny.

Duration: 119 min

Release:

IMDb: 6.4