The Personal History of David Copperfield (2019)

PG   |    |  Comedy, Drama

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Releases August 28, 2020

The Personal History of David Copperfield (2019) Poster

A modern take on Charles Dickens's classic tale of a young orphan who is able to triumph over many obstacles.


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26 January 2020 | Pjtaylor-96-138044
| Whimsical and fun.
'The Personal History Of David Copperfield (2019)' feels, quite significantly, like a clip-show, closer to a series of interconnected skits than a traditionally cinematic narrative. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, though. It gives the piece - which does, of course, have an overarching story - a unique feel. It's also an apt way to condense a lifetime into two hours, featuring only the most significant moments of its eponymous character's life. It all seems a little surreal, especially when it begins to visualise its narration in the middle of select scenes. The experience starts off a little slow but it soon picks up the pace, moving towards its low-key finale with a fair bit of momentum. Most of it is presented rather farcically, its eccentric characters flailing their arms or speaking in eloquent metaphor. There are a fair few moments that provoke a chuckle or two, but the flick still retains some resonance. It isn't all overtly comedic; some of its more sobering stuff does, indeed, sting. It comes so close to having something to say about class, but this aspect remains distinctly subtextual and always comes second to the more straightforward story. This isn't a huge issue, though. Perhaps the movie's biggest asset is its ensemble cast. Patel, who perfectly portrays the adult version of the whimsical protagonist, is a real stand-out. As are Capaldi and Laurie, who play eccentric but endearing middle-aged men. Each and every cast member is decidedly good, though, doing exactly what they need to with apparent joy. Overall, the film is entertaining and well-made. It's fun, energetic and, in general, just a good time. 7/10

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