We had great expectations for Armando Iannucci’s The Personal History Of David Copperfield and the director has duly delivered.
Here are five reasons why this star-packed adaptation of the Charles Dickens classic – in ODEON cinemas from 24 January – is unmissable viewing.
First published in 1849, David Copperfield was Charles Dickens’ eighth novel and, by his own admittance, his favourite work. But at 600-odd pages, with goodness knows how many juicy characters key to the plot, adapting it for the silver screen was always going to be a challenge.
As you’ll see on 24 January when The Personal History Of David Copperfield hits ODEON cinemas, writer/director Armando Iannucci, working alongside Simon Blackwell, has done a magnificent job.
From The Thick Of It to The Death Of Stalin, director Armando Iannucci is known for his riotous political satires, where no one escapes unscathed. The Personal History Of David Copperfield is a change of pace for the director – and, in switching lanes, he’s created perhaps his most appealing (and accessible) film yet.
“When I read the script I thought this is one of the weirdest things I’ve ever read,” recalls Hugh Laurie, who plays Mr. Dick, with a chuckle.
With novels like Great Expectations, Oliver Twist and A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens is regarded as one of the greatest writers of all time. Fittingly, the cast bringing his most celebrated novel to life is also of the highest order.
Tilda Swinton, Hugh Laurie and Ben Whishaw are by turns forceful, delightful and smarmy in their respective roles. But it’s Slumdog Millionaire’s Dev Patel as our titular dreamer who rightly steals the show.
While the humour in The Personal History Of David Copperfield is notably softer than in Iannucci’s prior work (where the scripts are so sharp they should come with a health warning), it’s still front and centre to the story.
Indeed, the film is often laugh-out-loud hilarious, with the diverse cast clearly enjoying themselves immensely. “Charles Dickens is our greatest comic prose writer,” elaborates screenwriter Simon Blackwell, “so that’s where Armando and I were coming from. Just to try and concentrate on what was funny about the book.”
Currently sitting pretty on Rotten Tomatoes with a whopping 96% approval rating (from 51 reviews), critics have been bending over backwards in their praise for Armando Iannucci’s Dickens’ take.
“All hail this showcase for the talent of Iannucci, a sly reminder that it’s possible to be both a national treasure and a thorn in the establishment’s side,” applauded David Sexton of the London Evening Standard, while The Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw called it “a bracing, entertaining, richly satisfying experience”.