Slough Cooperative Film Society Slough Cooperative Film Society

 

The Personal History of David Copperfield (PG)

Directed by Armando Iannucci 4stars/5

 SURPRISINGLY avid Charles Dickens fan, Armando Iannucci breathes fresh new life into the author’s “favourite child” David Copperfield with a light and whimsical yet nevertheless acutely pertinent adaptation. Best known for his political satires such as In the Thick of It and The Death of Stalin, Iannucci gives this classic work a funny and charming spin as he and his frequent co-writer Simon Blackwell’s wickedly entertaining yet razor-sharp script explores status anxiety, homelessness, poverty and the ever-widening divide between the rich and poor in Britain. Dickens’s colourful, eccentric and much-loved characters are brought to life by an inspired colour-blind casting, led by Dev Patel as Copperfield.Patel is sublime, imbuing him with a naive and eager wonderment and exuberance, while demonstrating his impeccable comic timing as he narrates Copperfield’s life story from his birth to adulthood as he witnesses at first hand the best and worst of people .A stellar supporting cast includes Tilda Swinton as Betsey Trotwood, Copper-field’s idiosyncratic aunt — her obsession with chasing donkeys off her land is one of the film’s visual delights — Hugh Laurie as Mr Dick, who has mental-health problems, Peter Capaldi as the ever-resourceful but debt-ridden Mr Micawber, and Ben Whishaw as the uber-creepy and villainous Uriah Heep. Although set in Victorian England, the film has a very modern feel, along with a humorous, energetic and colourful vibrancy which will make you see Dickens’s work in a whole new light. Maria Duarte