Review: The Personal History of David Copperfield

A new take on Charles Dickens' David Copperfield sees our title character (Dev Patel) narrate his life story from his childhood of privilege, to hard labor, to earning money, to becoming poor again, and everything in between.

I started to list who I loved in the cast but it got so long. Every single actor in this is absolutely delightful. There's not a single weak link. It's funny, I was utterly bored with this book when I read it as a teenager. The only reason I made a point to see this was for Dev Patel. I found this version to be very engaging and fun.

I shouldn't have been surprised by that. Director Armando Iannucci made The Thick of It, Death of Stalin and Veep. This is much more wholesome than the work of his I'm use to. It was a nice change.

I liked the way this was shot. At times, adult David is in the scenes narrating his childhood, backgrounds tear away like scene changes of a play. The costumes and the production design were all very well done. Since I watched this on an airplane, I couldn't hear the music very well. My theater had gotten this during the pandemic, but I didn't go for obvious reasons. I know it's available on HBO Max now as well, so I might have to circle back to watch again.

Give this one a watch, it might surprise you too.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: B

Memorable Quote: "You look striking." - David Copperfield (Dev Patel)


  1. I have this film in my DVR list as it just premiered on HBO a few weeks ago as I hope to watch it ASAP.

  2. I don't think I love Patel as much as you do (probably not possible), but I would watch anything with him in it. I'm 900 movies deep into my backlog, but I'd be willing to give this one a look. Great post!

    1. At least your summer vacation is right around the corner if it hasn't started already!

  3. This sounds like a really good film and I, too, like Dev Patel. I have to look this up to see who else is in it.

  4. Nothing about this movie other than Dev was appealing to me but it has so much charm about it, it's just impossible not to enjoy!

    1. YES! I agree. Had Dev not been in it, I wouldn't have bothered at all, but I'm glad I did.


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