"Their collaboration is the glue that helps the film move swiftly to the happy ending and makes The Personal History of David Copperfield a movie worth watching"
The Opening film for this year London Film Festival, The Personal History of David Copperfield is the cinematic adaptation of Dickens’ personal favourite novel, Directed by Armando Iannucci and follows David Copperfield (Dev Patel) in his life adventures, from a young child being shipped away to London by his step-father, to a young man finally finding his voice as the writer of his own life story.
Being one of Dickens’ more cinematic novel, bringing this story to the screen was a no-brainer for director Iannucci, the story waves dynamically from one scene to the other. Narrated in first person, the camera closely follows Copperfield throughout his life; sometimes becoming his eyes all together, helping the audience feel like they are a part of the story and be completely invested in the events unraveling.
The tone of the story drifts seemlessly between comedy and drama; the balance is mastered to perfection. The comic timing is not overused, it brings relief to the tragic events occurring in David’s life, without undermining their importance.
From Homelessness, Poverty and the rise of a new kind of society, very contemporary topics are highlighted in the story and are well represented in the story, giving them the weight they deserve, making Dickens’s work once again relevant to the current state of affairs of Modern society.
The cinematography along with the scenography and visual effects are completely borrowed from the Victorian Era; immersing you in the world. The visual effects used in the film are the ones used in the first theatre plays, nothing modern interferes with the story, making it more realistic and faithful to Dickens’ novel. All the settings along with each costume and any small props are vibrant with colour as well as being an integral part of the story. Each character can be identified by something they carry with them throughout the film, making the scenography look like another character in the story. Because of this, it almost feels like being at the theatre rather than watching a movie.
Although the concept is brilliant in his own merit, what makes the story unique is the astonishing work of the cast ensemble; Patel is the perfect Copperfield. He is present in every scene and his performance is sharp in every take.
With such brilliant performers includiding Tilda Swinton, Hugh Laurie, Peter Capaldi and Ben Whishaw to name a few, it could be easy to be distracted by so many talented actors working together. However, in this film, every performance complements and completes one another. Each actor doesn’t outshine the other, they all work in harmony reaching to the other’s potential. Moreover, the cast is one of the most diverse ever implemented in a Victorian movie and it is refreshing to see that it was done in such a genuine way to represent a London of the past that was, and still is, a boisterous melting pot. Their collaboration is the glue that helps the film move swiftly to the happy ending and makes The Personal History of David Copperfield a movie worth watching.