David Copperfield lives a nearly idyllic existence with his beautiful mother Clara and their housekeeper Peggotty. His life changes forever when his mother re-marries. Mr. Murdstone is a no-nonsense businessman and a strict disciplinarian who believes in corporal punishment. David is soon sent to a strict boarding school but when his mother dies, his stepfather sends him to London to work in a foul smelling factory. He forms a close friendship with Mr. Micawber and moves in with the man and his loving family but as the Micawbers are forced by circumstance to relocate, he seeks out his aunt Betsey Trotwood. She sends him to fine school and he lodges with Mr. Wickfield and his daughter Agnes. As he grows older David is apprenticed to a law firm where he soon meets the senior partner's daughter, Dora. Life's challenges continue to confront him but with the help of friends and family, he overcomes adversity including his aunt's loss of her savings, the death of his wife and the ... Written by
David Copperfield is not an easy one to film because the story -- while unfailingly interesting -- does have some of Dickens' most cloying sentimentality and sugary sweetness. David himself is saintly, and this makes him hard to play as an interesting character. In fact, playing the young hero in period dramas can easily be something of a poisoned chalice. (Other adaptations of recent years have come unstuck on this point.) However, this works out fine here. A very small Daniel Radcliffe is excellent as Harry P-- sorry, as young David, and I think that Ciarán McMenamin is also good as the adult David. I don't agree with those reviewers who call him smug. It's a shame that he looks nothing, but nothing, like Daniel Radcliffe, and the hairstyles he is given are really bad, especially the wig towards the end. Of course, he is inevitably somewhat overshadowed by the galaxy of top-notch actors who fill the other roles. Maggie Smith is particularly winsome as Betsy Trotwood.
I watched this with my eleven-year-old son and we both really enjoyed it. Recommended.
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