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The Personal History of David Copperfield

Inspired by Charles Dickens' own life, this movie adaptation of one of the author's most famous stories follows David Copperfield from youth to adulthood, chronicling the highs and lows that led him to discover his passion for storytelling.
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WHAT ARE CRITICS SAYING?

58

The Playlist by

Unfortunately, Iannucci and Blackwell are so intent on making every quip funny, they lose the story.
100

Screen International by Allan Hunter

The lynchpin of the whole enterprise is a terrific star turn from Dev Patel, who has never been better. The energy and physicality of his performance is a constant delight; a tangle of arms and legs, he plays the knockabout farce with the timing and agility of a Chaplin.
80

The Guardian by Benjamin Lee

Throughout the film, the cast engage in so many wonderfully measured scenes of mayhem that the fun they’re clearly having radiates from the screen.
67

IndieWire by Eric Kohn

There’s much to be appreciated about the movie’s energetic pace, and the casting never fails to convince. But Iannucci’s restless scene transitions — rising curtains reveal new scenes, projected images provide in-scene flashbacks, and so on — confuse empty gimmicks for innovative narrative trickery.
58

The Film Stage by Jared Mobarak

Iannucci is picking and choosing our alignments for us with his desire for as much humor as possible. Devoid of the breadth necessary to make these characters more than comic relief, however, it becomes difficult to buy the pursuit of David’s victory above all others.
60

Time Out by Joshua Rothkopf

The Personal History of David Copperfield feels, to a large degree, like a writer’s stunt. If you’re in a mildly irreverent mood (like Iannucci himself), you won’t complain too loudly about that.
75

Slant Magazine by Keith Uhlich

It’s not hard to parallel David/Dickens’s head-spinningly intricate descriptors with Iannucci’s own prodding, poetically vulgar rhetoric.
80

Total Film by Matt Maytum

A fleet-footed and boisterously enjoyable Dickens adaptation that breathes new life into a well-worn story. A winning Dev Patel leads a highly amusing cast.
80

Variety by Peter Debruge

Iannucci’s The Personal History of David Copperfield comes across as a bright and jaunty corrective to the dour and stuffy Dickens adaptations that have come before.
75

TheWrap by Steve Pond

Iannucci has fun with the classic serial-turned-novel and throws in a bit of defiant color-blind casting for kicks, but it takes some getting used to a gentler, less biting Iannucci.

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