Director Armando Iannucci (The Death of Stalin, BFF17) brings his sardonic wit – and a stellar cast of Dev Patel, Tilda Swinton, Hugh Laurie and Ben Whishaw – to Charles Dickens' classic autobiographical novel. Direct from Opening Night at the London Film Festival, 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 (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 way with words proves to be his saving grace.
This buoyant and 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.