Title: The Personal History of David Copperfield
Released: 2019

Fix: Quirky Adaptation, Inclusive Adaptation, Dev Patel
Platforms: Amazon PrimeApple TV

Amazon Prime Summary:

Dev Patel stars in this tongue-in-cheek reimagining of Dickens’ classic story of an iconic hero’s quirky journey from impoverished orphan to burgeoning writer in Victorian England.

FYA Summary:

A young orphan overcomes obstacles and befriends/beaquainences many a strange character on his path to becoming a famous writer. This modern retelling of the classic Charles Dickens tale is filled with dreamlike elements, theatrical scenes, and a delightfully diverse cast.

Dev Patel as David Copperfield

I’ve loved Dev since we met in Slumdog Millionaire. He’s such a brilliant actor, and it’s all I can do to take my eyes off him when he’s in a scene. It’s a true testament of his skills that he can both hold his own and shine bright when acting with folks like all of the below, who are supremely talented in their own right. David’s a great mix of naive and bull-headed, and Dev pulls off the innocence and the world-weariness equally well.

Peter Capaldi as Mr. Micawber

Micawber is a down-on-his-luck con man who maybe sorta wants to do right by himself and his family, only he’s not quite willing to put in the hard work. I love Capaldi in this role; it’s actually more like his Doctor Who role than any of the others I’ve seen him—although the Doctor has way more skills/experience backing up his swagger.

Gwendoline Christie as Jane Murdstone

Gwendoline is so good at playing a strong female villain, of which Jane is a perfect example. But it just reminded me of how much I want to see her play a good guy or even a love interest. She’s just so striking and her talents are somewhat wasted when she only gets the villain roles. (Also, feel free to yell about Brienne in the comments. I stopped watching Game of Thrones after the first season.)

Hugh Laurie as Mr. Dick

Dick is a sweet man with some serious mental struggles. It’s so fun watching Hugh play someone so sweet and childish; it’s the exact opposite of his role as Dr. House. I’m not sure how accurate he portrays the illness he’s dealing with, but the role never seemed to make fun of him. In fact, his relationship with Dev’s David was the sweetest of the show.

Tilda Swinton as Betsey Trotwood

Tilda is SO WEIRD, and I love her all the more for it. Betsey isn’t one of her oddest roles, but she still brings a lot of her eccentric qualities to David’s aunt.

Ben Whishaw as Uriah Heep

Uriah is creepy AF and it’s very strange trying to make sense of how unappealing Ben can be when he’s so adorable in roles like Q in the recent James Bond movies.

Benedict Wong as Mr. Wickfield

Wickfield is a drunk who bumbles his way through the movie, letting people down. He eventually does good by others, but not until it’s nearly too late. Benedict was great in the role, but I can’t say I really liked him in it, as he made me more mad than anything else.

Couch-Sharing Capability: Found Family

The Personal History of David Copperfield isn’t exactly a family movie, but it’s rated PG and lacking of anything that wouldn’t be appropriate for younger folk, minus some drunken escapades. It’s a magical story that features a great amount of diversity in a story that’s too often extremely white, which makes it a great movie to share with as many people as you feel comfortable sharing it with. Maybe just plan a night where you’re all watching at the same-ish time, rather than all piling on the couch, though? We are still in the middle of a pandemic, after all.

Recommended Level of Inebriation: Open the Wine Cellar

If you are watching this movie with underage folk, I’d recommend holding off on the booze. But if you’re partaking with olds, feel free to bust out many bottles of wine. Just like David and his buddies do in a few different scenes. You know, do as the upper-class gentlemen do.

Use of Your Streaming Subscription: This Stream Shows

Although you have to pay to stream this movie, the $6 is totally worth it. This movie is honest and quirky, funny and heartwarming, unique and yet familiar (if you are a Dickens fan or know anything about the original inspiration). It’s a truly original adaptation with a stellar cast. And it’s just the right amount of weird to take your mind off *gestures wildly around at everything.*

Mandy (she/her) is a manager at a tech company who lives in Austin, TX, with her husband, son, and dogs. She loves superheroes and pretty much any show or movie with “Star” in the name.