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What to know: A Must See with Great Attention to Historical Detail.
Recommended age 8-18
119 minutes
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This new film adaptation of Charles Dickens's original story David Copperfield is one that nobody should miss! The costumes and sets are superbly designed to take you all the way back to the 1800s. The acting performances and storyline just add to the strengths of The Personal History of David Copperfield. The only weakness is that the plot is somewhat confusing and a bit hard to follow. But otherwise, this film is definitely a must-see.

David Copperfield (Dev Patel) is an orphan whose mother marries an evil man. David is forced to work in a bottle factory and live with poor Mr. Micawber (Peter Capaldi). The plot follows him as he grows up, makes friends, and goes through hard times.

My favorite parts of The Personal History of David Copperfield are the costumes and sets. Every costume that appears fits the time period, character, and suits the storyline. Even the hair styles, hats and shoes are spot on. Dora's (Morfydd Clark) hair style, in particular, matches her personality. A lot of scenes throughout the film take place in England, in locations such as London, Bury St. Edmunds and King's Lynn. The locations and sets also help make the time period clear, and express the general mood of the movie. Another thing that stands out is the acting performances. Tilda Swinton (as Betsey Trotwood) delivers my favorite acting performance, but the film is well-cast and most of the actors are strong in their roles.

One weakness that stands out to me is that the plot is a bit confusing. The storyline has a lot to give if only it could be more clear about what is going on. At times, I am not sure if what is being shown is his imagination, a memory, or if it is actually happening. Younger kids might not understand what is happening and might miss important elements of the story.

The message is to not judge someone by the amount of money they have. For parents to know, there is a little bit of physical fighting but not much. There are also a couple scenes and a bit of the storyline based around alcoholism and being drunk.

I give this comedy- and drama-filled film 4.5 out of 5 stars. I recommend it for ages 11 to 18 and adults. The Personal History of David Copperfield can be found in theaters beginning August 28, 2020.

Reviewed by Kyla C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

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A modern take on Charles Dickens's classic tale of a young orphan who is able to triumph over many obstacles.
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