The 44th Toronto International Film Festival welcomed the world premiere of Armando Iannucci’s “The Personal History of David Copperfield,” starring Academy Award nominee Dev Patel (“Lion”) in an adaptation of the Charles Dickens novel. Attendees out of TIFF are calling the film “a delight,” “quirky” and “charming.”
The official synopsis from TIFF reads:
Born six months after the death of his father, David (Patel) is lucky to be raised by a loving mother. But when Mum weds the dour Edward Murdstone, David is shipped off to the cottage — actually a capsized boat — of his housekeeper’s family. These peculiar accommodations prove to be only the first of David’s numerous temporary abodes, which include an oppressive boarding school and the home of his eccentric aunt Betsey Trotwood (Swinton). Wherever David goes, whether living in poverty or comfort, he writes pithy impressions of all those he encounters — impressions that will one day constitute his autobiography.
Iannucci directs his third theatrical feature with a script he wrote with Simon Blackwell. The two collaborated before on the director’s 2009 comedy “In the Loop,” which went on to nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay. Iannucci’s second big release came with last year’s “The Death of Stalin,” a dark-humored political satire on the era of Joseph Stalin. The film was nominated for two BAFTA awards, Best British Film and Best Adapted Screenplay. There’s plenty of potential for Iannucci to bring his latest back to the BAFTA’s.
“The Personal History of David Copperfield” also stars Oscar winners Tilda Swinton and Peter Capaldi, Golden Globe winners Hugh Laurie and Ben Whishaw, and Emmy nominee Gwendoline Christie.
First reactions for the film started rolling out post-premiere via Twitter:
THE PERSONAL HISTORY OF DAVID COPPERFIELD: Much like Dev Patel in period attire, this film is a pure work of uplifting, majestic art.
Bonus points for a scene stealing Tilda Swinton and Ben Whishaw.
— Matthew St.Clair (@filmguy619) September 6, 2019
— Raquel Stecher (@RaquelStecher) September 6, 2019
— Andy Howell (@d_a_howell) September 6, 2019
THE PERSONAL HISTORY OF DAVID COPPERFIELD: Oh heavens, what an utter delight! This made my heart feel light. Pure joy. #TIFF2019
— Chris Evangelista (@cevangelista413) September 6, 2019
Wow, @Aiannucci heard all your "it's not historically accurate" and spit right on it and BROUGHT that beautiful cast.
THE PERSONAL HISTORY OF DAVID COPPERFIELD was absolutely charming and surreal. You'll be charmed to smiles. #TIFF19 pic.twitter.com/2HJpqDbrHO
— Smash Traves (@smashtraves) September 6, 2019
David Copperfield is inspired, hilarious, joyous and…ends on a wonderful note of hope. Patel is fantastic but Laurie absolutely steaks the show. And yeah it’s a tad long but I was grinning through most of it. #TIFF
— Gregory Ellwood – The Playlist 🎬 (@TheGregoryE) September 6, 2019
#ThePersonalHistoryofDavidCopperfield is the most surprisingly hilarious and heartwarming film of the year. Full of laughter, loss, and wonder. My heart is so full after seeing it at #TIFF19. They couldn't have assembled a better cast with #DevPatel #PeterCapaldi and #HughLaurie pic.twitter.com/cWJRFOLtcm
— Ashley Menzel (@AshleyGMenzel) September 6, 2019
The Personal History of David Copperfield is a delight. Combining the whimsy of Wes Anderson, the humor of Monty Python, and Dickins' classic with Iannuci's signature wit, it is an anarchonistic delight. Cast is superb, Patel and Laurie best Favorite of year so far. 10/10 #TIFF19
— William Caruana (@DrVidGame) September 6, 2019
“The Personal History of David Copperfield” is produced by FilmNation Entertainment. It will screen at the BFI London Film Festival for its European premiere October 2 with U.S. distribution and release date to be determined.