The Personal History Of David Copperfield
Armando Iannucci (‘The Death of Stalin’, ‘In the Loop’) directs this zippily-paced, brilliantly funny adaptation of Charles Dickens’ autobiographical coming of age novel. Starting literally from his birth, David (played in later years by Dev Patel) is born into idyllic surroundings that are then quickly shattered as his mother marries a plutocrat. Sent to work in his factory, David’s life is told in a succession of reversals of fortunes. From dodging creditors with Mr. Micawber (Peter Capaldi) to his nest in the Peggoty’s boathouse to battling Uriah Heep’s (Ben Whishaw) machinations, we’e witness to a panorama of the times. There’s barely a chance for the murmur of laughter to die down, with terrific comic performances from Tilda Swinton as the donkey-fearing Betsey Trotwood and Hugh Laurie as the supremely absent-minded Mr Dick. But through all the laughs, there’s some deeply poignant moments that lay bare the deep class divisions in Victorian society in Iannucci’s brilliantly modern take on a literary classic.