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Director Armando Iannucci (The Death of Stalin) brings his sardonic wit — and a stellar cast of Dev Patel, Tilda Swinton, Hugh Laurie and Ben Whishaw — to Charles Dickens' classic autobiographical novel. This thrillingly realised adaptation of Dickens’ personal and optimistic narrative is gloriously entertaining. Careening through 19th century England, it follows its hero from one unlikely situation to the next.
Born after the death of his father, David (Dev Patel, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, 2011) is fortunate to be raised by a loving mother. But when she takes a violent new husband, David is sent away on an odyssey of sorts, starting at the cottage of his housekeeper's family. As David inhabits several more temporary abodes, which include an oppressive boarding school and the home of his eccentric aunt Betsey Trotwood (Swinton), his words prove to be his saving grace. He produces hilariously pithy impressions of all those he encounters — impressions that will one day constitute his autobiography.
This buoyant and incredibly funny crowd-pleaser cannily transposes its source material into a decidedly 21st-century context, with an infectiously energetic Dev Patel leading the way to demonstrate that great art is born of great experience.
★★★★ Everything rattles and zings like a pinball machine, and it's a bracing, entertaining, richly satisfying experience. - Guardian
★★★★ all hail this showcase for the talent of Iannucci, a sly reminder that it's possible to be both a national treasure and a thorn in the establishment's side. - London Evening Standard
OFFICIAL SELECTION: Opening Night, BFI London Film Festival, 2019
OFFICIAL SELECTION: Toronto International Film Festival, 2019