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The Personal History of David Copperfield (2019)

PG | | Comedy, Drama | 28 August 2020 (USA)
2:04 | Trailer
A modern take on Charles Dickens's classic tale of a young orphan who is able to triumph over many obstacles.


Armando Iannucci


Simon Blackwell (screenplay by), Charles Dickens (novel) | 1 more credit »
237 ( 389)
Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 7 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Fisayo Akinade ... Markham
Nikki Amuka-Bird ... Mrs Steerforth
Albie Atkinson Albie Atkinson ... Mealy Potatoes
Aneurin Barnard ... Steerforth
Tuwaine Barrett Tuwaine Barrett ... Referee Boy
Nigel Betts ... Creditor
Ruby Bentall ... Janet
Darren Boyd ... Murdstone
Peter Capaldi ... Mr Micawber
Gwendoline Christie ... Jane Murdstone
Morfydd Clark ... Clara Copperfield / Dora Spenlow
Daisy May Cooper ... Peggotty
Matthew Cottle ... Mr Spenlow
Faisal Dacosta ... Mick Walker
Glen Davies Glen Davies ... Coalman


A fresh and distinctive take on Charles Dickens' semi-autobiographical masterpiece, The Personal History of David Copperfield, set in the 1840s, chronicles the life of its iconic title character as he navigates a chaotic world to find his elusive place within it. From his unhappy childhood to the discovery of his gift as a storyteller and writer, David's journey is by turns hilarious and tragic, but always full of life, color and humanity. Written by yusufpiskin

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

1800s | fate | kite | orphan | child labour | See All (18) »


From rags to riches... and back again


Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for thematic material and brief violence. | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


Filmed during the hot dry summer of 2018, the film was finally premiered in Canada in September 2019 and theatrically released in the UK in January 2020. The reason for the long gap was to avoid the congestion of big box office releases in the Summer and Christmas periods and the fact it was realized the final edit was not going to be ready in time for a mass release in Autumn 2019. January/February is often considered a good time to release smaller independent, art-house or 'serious' films due to the lack of competition from the major studios in that period and the dominance they will have in terms of publicity and theatrical screen availability. So it was decided early on to aim to have the film in UK cinemas in that period and to release it in other countries during similar 'quiet periods during the year or when there was some expected screen availability in that territory. See more »


In Dickens' original novel, it is implied that Wilkins Micawber is slightly rotund, balding man. Quite the exact physical opposite of Peter Capaldi who plays him here, and much nearer to previous incarnations played by Bob Hoskins, Arthur Lowe and W.C. Fields. However as exact physical casting is not really adhered to in this film, it can be forgiven that the director also played loosely with his interpretation of this character (and asides from this, Capaldi's version of the character still portrays the blind optimism and shabby charm of Dickens character) . See more »


Betsey Trotwood: My late brother all over. Calls a house a rookery, takes the rooks on trust. A better name would have been Gullible Manor.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The end credits are supposed to be listed in alphabetical order, however, Paul Whitehouse is billed above Ben Whishaw whereas they should be the other way around. See more »


Version of David Copperfield (2000) See more »


Auld Lang Syne
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User Reviews

Brilliant performances all around and the film is a welcome escape from the current lack of whimsy in the world.
11 August 2020 | by thisisthemotherhoodSee all my reviews

Dev Patel carries the role of David Copperfield gracefully and naturally. He meets many characters along the way that vividly come to life on screen in ways that make you feel as though you are reading the descriptions as they unfolded on the page. They are almost caricatures in a very whimsical and delightful way. The rollercoaster that takes David from being the only son of a widow to the discarded baggage of a new marriage also makes him the guest in an overwhelmingly loving (yet constantly indebted) family. The ride continues as he becomes a young man on the run and on his fresh start as a gentleman with a past and then finally landing as a man in love with a girl who is out of place in his story.

Though we are introduced to a wonderful array of supporting characters who help David on his long and winding journey, we do not get to spend enough time getting to know them because of the fast pace of the film. We feel his connection to them based on all of the great performances, however, it is tough to stay connected to them on the other side of the lens as the pace through situations races ahead. The third act of the film is where it is felt the most. As all of the characters come together for a very satisfying ending, it would have been nice to have more time with the characters as they enjoy the spoils of ride they took together.

In the end, this is a redemption story about a very interesting character and his extraordinarily interesting life. David and his engaging journey have every element needed to go from whimsical to scary to revenge filled and eventually a satisfying conclusion. I would definitely recommend it. There are brilliant performances all around and the film is a welcome escape from the current lack of whimsy in the world.

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Release Date:

28 August 2020 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Personal History of David Copperfield See more »


Box Office


$15,600,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$475,800, 30 August 2020

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs




Aspect Ratio:

2.39: 1
See full technical specs »

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