4/10 An oddball movie going experience, “The Personal History of David Copperfield” is indeed personal, but also not particularly enjoyable. Sure, there are several winning elements to admire which I will get into but I found myself just waiting for the movie to end so I could go watch something else. As for what works, the cast does a pretty tremendous job, especially our lead Dev Patel, the adorable and talented Jairaj Varsani who plays the younger version of Copperfield and Morfydd Clark as one of Copperfield’s main love interests (strangely, she also plays Copperfield’s mother in an early scene which I don’t think was a very good idea to have the same actress playing two different roles in the same movie, despite her talent). The supporting cast is fine as well but those three actors really get to shine and stand out the most. Director Armando Iannucci also gets to show off some amazing visual and stylistic flairs and gets very creative with scene transitions, the editing, cinematography, some meta elements, narration and other aspects that at least make this a memorable movie. The biggest problem for me was that this movie is too eccentric and odd to the point where it feels incoherent and jumbled, mistaking its unique oddities for strong quality. The humor is very dry and British, which may be your thing but I certainly found the humor to fall incredibly flat. A couple of the moments that attempt humor have already been given away by the movie’s trailer anyways. Near the movie’s beginning there are dialogue scenes between characters that have each character reciting their dialogue so quickly that it almost begins to become hard to keep up with what is happening. The second one character finishes his or her line, the next character instantly begins speaking with not a moment of silence in between them, as there would be in a natural conversation. Fast talking dialogue may work in an Aaron Sorkin script but here it just sounds like word vomit and made the scenes come off as rushed, as if the actors only had a limited amount of time left to film for the day and had to cram in as much dialogue as quickly as possible. The editing is a mixed bag as on one hand, there are some clever and unique editing choices that are visually pleasing but on the other hand, we have those moments editing far too rapidly mixed with a rather slow pacing that makes the movie drag in several spots. There are almost too many characters here and most don’t have enough time to be developed. In the end, despite some impressive visuals and strong performances, this jumbled hodgepodge of a movie left me more bewildered than entertained. Hardcore Dickens fans may find more to enjoy here but your average film goer probably wouldn’t make it far into the movie before switching to something else more suitable.
#ProctorStrange / #LimpDickens / #OutOfLeftCopperfield / #DoctorWhoWasThisMadeFor? / #WeNeedToTalkAboutDevInThisMovie / #AVeryEnglishMishandle