Director Armando Iannucci (The Death of Stalin) brings his sardonic wit — and a stellar cast that includes Dev Patel, Tilda Swinton, Hugh Laurie, Gwendoline Christie, Peter Capaldi, and Ben Whishaw — to Charles Dickens' classic autobiographical novel.
The Personal History of David Copperfield
From the imaginations of Oscar nominees Armando Iannucci, director of TIFF 2017's The Death of Stalin, and Simon Blackwell, who co-wrote Iannucci's breakthrough feature In the Loop, comes this gloriously frenetic adaptation of one of Charles Dickens' most beloved novels. Starring Oscar nominee Dev Patel and featuring an august supporting cast that includes Oscar winner Tilda Swinton and Golden Globe winners Hugh Laurie and Ben Wishaw, The Personal History of David Copperfield is gloriously entertaining, careening through 19th-century England as it tracks its hero's zigzag destiny.
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.
With its refreshing casting and ceaseless visual surprises — walls literally fall away to make room for flashbacks — Iannucci and Blackwell's David Copperfield transposes its source material into a decidedly 21st-century cinematic context. Yet the film never loses sight of its central ideas: that great art is born of great experience, and one's true fortune can be measured in friends.