Posted Oct 05 2019

LFF 2019 Preview - Opening Night Gala - The Personal History Of David Copperfield

Dir: Armando Iannucci

Starring Dev Patel, Hugh Laurie, Tilda Swinton, Peter Capaldi, Ben Wishaw, Gwendoline Christie, Benedict Wong

Armando Ianucci’s take on Charles Dickens is – simply – joyous. The co-writer and director takes on the author’s look at personal identity and finds all the social satire the original book embraced, as Dev Patel moves through the world attempting to identify himself - 'Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show.”

And this film certainly manages to do that. Beautifully pitched between Dickens’ own words and a deliberate modernity of language, Ianucci captures the feel of Dickens as well as any filmmaker has ever managed, pitching his central figure into a world of diverse characters and brilliant performers.

It starts well – and then Tilda Swinton shows up. And then Ben Whishaw is suddenly Uriah Hep. And then it’s Hugh Laurie! Given that BAFTA has recently added a category for casting, this should be a serious contender.

Beautifully realised, archly amusing – as Dickens would have wanted – played to perfection by all, and smartly made relevant – (top) hats off to Mr Ianucci. And all who sail in him.


The Personal History Of David Copperfield plays the LFF on October 2, 3 & 8. For more info go to






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