October 02, 2019
The London film festival opened with Armando Iannucci’s larger-than-life adaptation of the Dickens crowdpleaser, starring Dev Patel as Copperfield
The Personal History of David Copperfield review – Iannucci relishes the absurdity
Armando Iannucci’s terrifically likable, genial adaptation of Charles 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.
Related: 'It's very modern': Armando Iannucci rips up rules with Dickens adaption
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