The Personal History of David Copperfield (2019)
|Content Rating||PG (PG)|
|Awards||Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 15 wins & 29 nominations.|
|Company||Film 4, FilmNation Entertainment, Searchlight Pictures|
The Personal History of David Copperfield
The Personal History of David Copperfield is a 2019 comedy-drama film written and directed by Armando Iannucci, based on the 1850 Victorian era novel David Copperfield by Charles Dickens. It stars Dev Patel as the title character, and Aneurin Barnard, Peter Capaldi, Morfydd Clark, Daisy May Cooper, Rosalind Eleazar, Hugh Laurie, Tilda Swinton, Ben Whishaw and Paul Whitehouse.
The world premiere was at the Toronto International Film Festival on 5 September 2019. It was theatrically released in the United Kingdom on 24 January 2020 by Lionsgate UK and in the United States on 28 August 2020 by Fox Searchlight Studios (through Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures).
The life of David Copperfield is chronicled from his birth to the present day. David has an idyllic life and is taken to visit the family of his nanny Peggoty (Daisy May Cooper) in their boat house in Yarmouth. When he returns, his young and widowed mother Clara (Morfydd Clark) has married the sinister and cruel Mr. Murdstone (Darren Boyd), who beats the boy. The abused David Copperfield (Dev Patel) is sent to work in Murdstone's factory where he lodges with Mr. Micawber (Peter Capaldi) and his family, who are pursued by their creditors. After being told of his mother's death and funeral, David escapes from his life of drudgery and finds his wealthy aunt Betsey Trotwood (Tilda Swinton) and her lodger, the eccentric Mr. Dick (Hugh Laurie). After troubling problems with Steerforth (Aneurin Barnard) and Uriah Heep (Ben Whishaw), Betsey Trotwood finances David's ambition to become a gentleman and author.
- Dev Patel as David Copperfield
- Jairaj Varsani as young David Copperfield
- Aneurin Barnard as James Steerforth
- Peter Capaldi as Mr. Micawber
- Morfydd Clark as Dora Spenlow / Clara Copperfield
- Daisy May Cooper as Peggotty
- Rosalind Eleazar as Agnes Wickfield
- Hugh Laurie as Mr. Dick
- Tilda Swinton as Betsey Trotwood
- Ben Whishaw as Uriah Heep
- Paul Whitehouse as Mr. Peggotty
- Benedict Wong as Mr. Wickfield
- Nikki Amuka-Bird as Mrs. Steerforth
- Darren Boyd as Edward Murdstone
- Gwendoline Christie as Jane Murdstone
- Matthew Cottle as Mr Spenlow
- Bronagh Gallagher as Mrs Micawber
- Anthony Welsh as Ham Peggotty
- Aimee Kelly as Emily
- Anna Maxwell Martin as Mrs. Strong
- Victor McGuire as Creakle
- Peter Singh as Tungay
- Ruby Bentall as Janet
- Divian Ladwa as Dr. Chillip
- Rosaleen Linehan as Mrs. Gummidge
- Sophie McShera as Mrs. Crupp
It was announced in February 2018 that Armando Iannucci would be writing, directing, and producing a new adaptation of the Charles Dickens novel. Iannucci wrote the screenplay with co-writer Simon Blackwell. Dev Patel was cast in the title role later that month. In April, the supporting cast was added, which included Tilda Swinton, Hugh Laurie, Aneurin Barnard, Ben Whishaw and Morfydd Clark. In May 2018, Peter Capaldi was cast to play Mr. Micawber and pre-production was underway.
Filming began in June 2018 in Norfolk and Suffolk, with Gwendoline Christie, Benedict Wong, Paul Whitehouse, and Daisy May Cooper joining the cast. Scenes were shot in Hull, Bury St Edmunds, Weybourne and King's Lynn in July. Aimee Kelly was added to the cast the same month. Principal photography on the film concluded in August 2018. In filming David Copperfield, it became the first theatrical film production of the novel in 50 years.
The film had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival on 5 September 2019, followed by its European premiere on 2 October 2019, acting as the opening film of the 63rd BFI London Film Festival. It was the Surprise Film at the 39th Cambridge Film Festival. It was released in the United Kingdom by Lionsgate UK on 24 January 2020. Searchlight Pictures acquired distribution rights for the United States and scheduled the release on 8 May 2020. However, due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on cinema, it was theatrically released later on 28 August 2020.
The Personal History of David Copperfield has grossed $1.9 million in the United States and Canada, and $12.3 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $14.2 million, against a production budget of $15.6 million.
In the United States, the film debuted $520,000 from 1,360 theaters. Playing in 1,550 theaters the following weekend it fell 24% to $361,000.
On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 92% based on 242 reviews, with an average rating of 7.6/10. The website's critics consensus reads: "The Personal History of David Copperfield puts a fresh, funny, and utterly charming spin on Dickens' classic, proving some stories truly are timeless." On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 77 out of 100, based on 39 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews". PostTrak reported that 74% of audience members gave the film a positive score, with 50% saying they would recommend it.
Writing for The Observer, Mark Kermode awarded the film a full five stars and stated: "It really is a wonderfully entertaining film, managing to both respect and reinvent the novel from which it takes its lead."
|Award||Date of ceremony||Category||Recipient(s)||Result||Ref.|
|British Independent Film Awards||1 December 2019||Best British Independent Film||Armando Iannucci, Simon Blackwell & Kevin Loader||Nominated|
|Best Actor||Dev Patel||Nominated|
|Best Supporting Actor||Hugh Laurie||Won|
|Best Supporting Actress||Tilda Swinton||Nominated|
|Best Screenplay||Armando Iannucci and Simon Blackwell||Won|
|Best Casting||Sarah Crowe||Won|
|Best Cinematography||Zac Nicholson||Nominated|
|Best Costume Design||Suzie Harman and Robert Worley||Won|
|Best Editing||Mick Audsley and Peter Lambert||Nominated|
|Best Make Up & Hair Design||Karen Hartley-Thomas||Nominated|
|Best Production Design||Cristina Casali||Won|
|London Film Week Awards||1 December 2019||Best Film||Armando Ianucci||Nominated|
|Best Screenplay||Armando Ianucci and Simon Blackwell||Won|
|British Academy Film Awards||2 February 2020||Best Casting||Sarah Crowe||Nominated|
|Boulder International Film Festival Awards||5 March 2020||Best Feature Film||Armando Iannucci||Won|
|European Film Awards||12 December 2020||Best Production Designer||Cristina Casali||Won|
|St. Louis Film Critics Association Awards||Best Production Design||Cristina Casali||Nominated|
|Satellite Awards||15 February 2021||Best Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical||Nominated|
|Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical||Dev Patel||Nominated|
|Best Costume Design||Suzie Harman and Robert Worley||Won|
|Best Art Direction and Production Design||Cristina Casali and Charlotte Dirickx||Nominated|
|Golden Globe Awards||28 February 2021||Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical Comedy||Dev Patel||Nominated|
|Hollywood Critics Association Awards||5 March 2021||Best Comedy/Musical||Pending|
|Best Costume Design||Suzie Harman and Robert Worley||Pending|
|Best Production Design||Cristina Casali||Pending|
|Critics’ Choice Movie Awards||March 7, 2021||Best Costume Design||Suzie Harman and Robert Worley||Nominated|
|Best Production Design||Cristina Casali and Charlotte Dirickx||Nominated|
|Casting Society of America||April 15, 2021||Feature Big Budget – Comedy||Sarah Crowe||Nominated|