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24 January 2020 12:39

Armando Iannucci BFI London Film Festival British Film Institute

Movie Review – The Personal History of David Copperfield (2019)

After his savage political satires In the Loop and The Death of Stalin, Armando Iannucci's third feature is a more straightforward proposition: an adaptation of Charles Dickens's most personal novel. Dev Patel is on winning form as Copperfield, surrounded by a strong cast including Tilda Swinton, Hugh Laurie and Peter Capaldi. London Palladium, W1, Monday 27, Wednesday 29 & Thursday 30 January; to 16 February The video to new single What a Man Gotta Do finds the JoBros at their relentlessly cheery best, an 80s movie pastiche that has each sibling dancing with his famous spouse: Nick with Priyanka Chopra, Joe with Sophie Turner, and the Other One with the Other One. It is a perfect match for the band's catchy powerpop, as on 2019's comeback album Happiness Begins. Throughout its century-plus history, jazz has injected the contrariness of improvisation into the conviviality of popular dance forms, and Kokoroko – the soulful, Afrobeat-rooted London eight-piece led by young jazz trumpeter Sheila Maurice-Grey – are a popular example. Facebook Twitter Pinterest Bard act… John Kani and Antony Sher in Kunene and the King.

Birmingham Repertory Theatre, Wednesday 29 January to 15 February Indeed, when word reached us that Armando Iannucci — an award-winning Scottish filmmaker and one of the world's greatest satirists — was to squeeze a self-assembled Charles Dickens joint in between a biting political comedy (2017's The Death of Stalin) and a new laugh-a-minute, sci-fi romp (Avenue 5, on telly boxes this week), we began to worry. As it turns out, Iannucci really is that good, and has, against all odds, condensed Dickens' wonderful semi-autobiographical novel into a buzzy two-hour feature that rarely misplaces its footing. It's the 19th century, and the great Dev Patel is David Copperfield, a man whose incredible life takes as many twists and turns as you might expect from a Dickens yarn. Iannucci's film begins with a public reading — our man Copperfield has finally convinced the British public that his is a life worth sharing. Armando Iannucci's The Personal History Of David Copperfield is the prominent new title this weekend, as the latest Charles Dickens adaptation looking to make a mark with UK audiences.

Iannucci's film, which launched at Toronto 2019, marks the ninth time Dickens' 1849 book David Copperfield has been reproduced on screen. It takes its name from the novel's full title, The Personal History, Adventures, Experience and Observation of David Copperfield the Younger of Blunderstone Rookery. Previous versions include a 1935 black-and-white feature directed by renowned literary adaptor George Cukor; a 1969 television film with Laurence Olivier and Richard Attenborough among the cast; a 1993 animated musical in which John Lennon's son Julian voices the lead role and the human characters take the form of cats; and a 1999 two-part BBC television drama with pre-Harry Potter Daniel Radcliffe as young David Copperfield. His first was 2009 The Thick Of It spin-off In The Loop, which opened to £468,954 and ended on £2.2m, securing Iannucci a best adapted screenplay Oscar nomination in the process. In 2017 he directed historical satire The Death Of Stalin, which opened to £994,912 and ended on £5.2m, as well as winning four Bifas and achieving Bafta nominations for outstanding British film and best adapted screenplay.

She is best known as a director of music videos for artists including David Bowie, Rihanna, Katy Perry, The Cure and Dua Lipa; and has worked on TV series including American Gods and The Handmaid's Tale. Other strong holdovers include the second weekend of Bad Boys For Life, plus well-performing films Little Women, The Gentlemen and Jumanji: The Next Level. Based on the acclaimed novel by Charles Dickens, The Personal History of David Copperfield follows its narrator hero through the highs and lows of his life in Victorian England. From the creative mind of Armando Iannucci, and the pen of Dickens (with Simon Blackwell's able assistance), comes The Personal History of David Copperfield, a fresh, imaginative and – dare I say it? As a film about one man's life, it makes perfect sense that David Copperfield's younger years should explore the whimsy and adventure of childhood as much as his later years chart the unforgiving turbulence of a man unlucky in his fortune in Victorian England.

The Personal History of David Copperfield uses Dickens' storytelling structure so well, with Copperfield (Dev Patel) as the narrator of his own tale. From domineering, leeching step-family members to kindly housekeepers and several, rather batty, friends and relations, a wide range of the classic Dickens character tropes are present and correct in The Personal History of David Copperfield. This is not to discredit him at all – in this way he works best as the writer Copperfield, observing and listening to those who inspire his words later on. As with the writer's original works though, The Personal History of David Copperfield starts and ends with its characters, who are truly alive and authentic. Dickens' propensity towards writing larger-than-life characters is something that truly lends itself to the screen, and presents delicious work for the actors.

The trend for injecting a new lease of life into novels continues into the third decade of the twenty first century with a new film adaptation of the classic Charles Dickens novel by Armando Iannucci of the Veep and the Thick of It fame It stars Dev Patel who will be best known for appearances in the critically acclaimed films Slumdog Millionaire and Lion,who plays the character almost as a semi autobiographical depiction of Dickens himself as he collects sentences from his journey to make himself into a writer. He meets many characters along the way Tilda Swinto as Copperfield's beloved aunt, Betsey Trotwood, Peter Capaldi as Mr Micawber, Ben Whishaw as Uriah Heep, and Gwendoline Christie as Jane Mudstone. Armando Iannucci was re-reading David Copperfield several years ago when he was suddenly struck by a creative impulse. The eighth novel of Dickens' illustrious career, it goes by the full title: The Personal History, Adventures, Experience and Observation of David Copperfield the Younger of Blunderstone Rookery (Which He Never Meant to Publish on Any Account). The Personal History of David Copperfield opens in the UK today Go and see it