FILM REVIEW: The Personal History of David Copperfield

The Personal History of David Copperfield is not your standard literary adaptation.

The newly released film from Scottish director Armando Iannucci transforms Charles Dickens' classic novel David Copperfield into a colourful, kooky, aburdist comedy.

The first thing one needs to know before going into the film is that it features colourblind casting. That means the characters are played by people of varying backgrounds, despite the fact that historically they would have all been white.

Corners of the internet have taken great exception to this decision, saying it tarnishes the Dickens story.

But classic literary works are adapted in different ways all the time: they can become musicals (Les Miserables) or be transported into the modern world (Emma, Taming the Shrew) or even feature cartoon lions (Hamlet). This film is merely the latest evolution.

And it's pretty brilliant.

The casting is spot on - everyone hits just the right notes of off-beat, quirky comedy.

Lion's Dev Patel plays the titular lead wonderfully, really showing off the acting chops that earned him an Oscar nomination.

He is supported by Oscar-winner Tilda Swinton, House's Hugh Laurie, Skyfall's Ben Whishaw and Marvel's Benedict Wong.

What the Dickens: Hugh Laurie, Dev Patel and Tilda Swinton star in the hilarious adaptation of a classic Charles Dickens novel, The Personal History of David Copperfield, rated PG, in cinemas now.

What the Dickens: Hugh Laurie, Dev Patel and Tilda Swinton star in the hilarious adaptation of a classic Charles Dickens novel, The Personal History of David Copperfield, rated PG, in cinemas now.

You don't need to know anything about the novel to enjoy the film.

It whimsically chronicles Copperfield's wacky and wonderful life, from his birth to his time as a child labourer and private school student.

It is filled with odd-bod characters, and this collection of characters is what makes the film work.

They each leave their mark on both Copperfield and the audience. The quirkiest are often the most lovable, and each actor imbues their character with tremendous warmth.

The awkward comedy will have audiences laughing out loud at the hilarious antics of the characters and the gloriously fun dialogue.

While The Personal History of David Copperfield might be just a bit too out there for some viewers, those who can suspend their disbelief and just go along for a wild ride will have a great time.

Rating: 7/10

This story Quirky and hilarious: The Personal History of David Copperfield review first appeared on Campbelltown-Macarthur Advertiser.