David Copperfield

AMG AllMovie Guide:

David Copperfield



A distinguished cast highlights this made-for-TV adaptation of one of Charles Dickens' best-loved novels. Young David Copperfield (Daniel Radcliffe) is loved by his mother Clara (Emilia Fox), but does not get along with his foul-tempered stepfather, Murdstone (Trevor Eve). After biting Murdstone during a fight, David is forced to attend a boarding school operated by the vicious and humorless Mr. Creakle (Ian McKellen). After Clara suddenly dies, David is sent to work; while his labors are tiring and poorly compensated, he finds a benefactor in the good-hearted Mr. Micawber (Bob Hoskins) and his wife (Imelda Staunton). However, Micawber does not manage money well, and winds up in a debtors prison. Left to his devices, David sets out to find one of his few surviving relatives, his eccentric Aunt Betsy (Maggie Smith). The years pass, and the grown-up David (Ciaran McMenamin) has struggled to build a better life for himself, with the help of Betsy's attorney, Mr. Wickfield. David also becomes friendly with Wickfield's daughter Agnes (Amanda Ryan), but he finds a nemesis in the lawyer's clerk Uriah Heep (Nicholas Lyndhurst). David also marries a simple woman named Dora (Joanna Page), but their union brings him little happiness. David Copperfield was a co-production of the BBC and WGBH Boston. It received its American premier on the acclaimed anthology series Masterpiece Theatre. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi


Wonderfully eccentric Dickens characters populate this production of David Copperfield, thanks to brilliant casting and acting. Peggoty, Wilkins Micawber, Uriah Heep -- all are here in full caricature as director Simon Curtis dramatizes one of English literature's most oft-told and best-loved stories. Delightful performances abound: Bob Hoskins is so good as Micawber, David's ne'er-do-well friend for whom a job is always about to "turn up," that he may well replace W.C. Fields as the definitive film Micawber. Hoskins is warm, funny, generous -- a philanthropist with nothing to give. Careful not to unduly hyperbolize his character, Hoskins infuses him with just enough idiosyncrasy to make him wholly human and perfectly Dickensian. Just as remarkable as Hoskins' performance is Maggie Smith's as David's aunt and protector, Betsey Trotwood. She has spit and fire, and woe unto anyone who dares to tread upon her garden or threaten the interests of young David. With her lashing tongue, she easily overmatches cruel Mr. Murdstone Trevor Eve and his wicked witch of a sister -- with the help, of course, of Mr. Dick Ian McNiece, who is as benign as he is rotund. As Creakle, Ian McKellen deserves a ten on the scale of cruelty for complacently nibbling on cheese while telling David that his mother has died. Nicholas Lyndhurst is suitably slimy as devious Uriah Heep, and Daniel Radcliffe is engaging in the role of young David, exhibiting innocence and vulnerability. The only flaw in the film may be the performance of Ciarán McMenamin as the adult David. Although McMenamin is satisfactory in the role, he lacks the magic and charm projected by the other actors. All in all, though, this version of Copperfield may stand as the best of all, and it's suitable for the entire family. ~ Mike Cummings, Rovi


Pauline Quirke - Clara Peggotty; Emilia Fox - Clara Copperfield; Trevor Eve - Mr. Murdstone; Zoë Wanamaker - Miss Murdstone; Alun Armstrong - Daniel Peggotty; Imelda Staunton - Mrs. Micawber; Amanda Ryan - Agnes Micawber; Michael Elphick - Mr. Barkis; Tom Wilkinson - Narrator; James Thornton; Oliver Milburn; Dawn French; Cherie Lunghi; Daniel Radcliffe - Young David Copperfield; Joanna Page - Dora


Sarah-Jane Cornish - Art Director, Janey Fothergill - Costume Designer, Mike O'Neill - Costume Designer, Carrie Hilton - Costume Designer, Simon Curtis - Director, Rebecca Eaton - Executive Producer, Robert Lane - Composer (Music Score), Andy Collins - Cinematographer, Adrian Hodges - Screenwriter, Charles Dickens - Book Author

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