Matt Montada’s review published on Letterboxd:
Whereas In The Loop and The Death Of Stalin showcase Armando Ianucchi’s capabilities of being a comedic genius, The Personal History Of David Copperfield manages to present his capabilities of being a great storyteller. Through his writing and directing, he presents a beautifully told story that also serves as a portrait on the life of a man who manages to pull through from his dark past and become a gifted, person who is beloved amongst the many people that he comes across throughout his life. It just makes for such an inspiring story that is not only very funny, but also has a great message behind it.
The performances from every cast members are pretty solid. Dev Patel captures every single ounce of Copperfield’s sadness, optimism, and awkwardness through his brilliant acting. Ben Whishaw and Tilda Swinton are other standouts in the cast as they portray their characters in a way that feels genuine (much like the rest of the cast). However, the MVP throughout this entire cast is Hugh Laurie as Mr. Dick. He brings the most warmth and heart to this film’s story, even if he doesn’t have the most screentime out of every cast member.
The set and costume designs are excellent and capture this film’s time period perfectly as well as serve as a great way to convey characterizations for each character as well. There is just a lot of attention to detail when it comes to this film’s production values, which i highly appreciate.
The cinematography, musical score, and editing are also very strong work that also serves as proper storytelling tools as well. The editing, in particular, really stood out to me. Not only are there some neat tricks that they do with it, but they make the film’s pacing all-the-more proper, thus resulting in the story flowing naturally.
If there was one thing i had to nitpick about the film, i’d say that some of the characters feel a tiny bit underdeveloped and could’ve served a slightly more prominent purpose to the story (particularly Mr. Murdstone and Clara Copperfield). Aside from that, The Personal History Of David Copperfield is yet another homerun from Armando Ianucchi and i really hope he continues to tell more stories like this in the future.