starring Dev Patel, Peter Capaldi, Hugh Laurie, Tilda Swinton
screenplay by Armando Iannucci, Simon Blackwell, based on the book by Charles Dickens
directed by Armando Iannucci
by Walter Chaw I hate Charles Dickens. I hate what I know about him as a human being. I hate how he writes. I hate his books. To be sure I hated them, I read them all. Because I majored in English and then British Romanticism, I even had cause to study his work--sometimes in great, exhausting detail. I have read volumes of critical studies, been subjected to numerous stage, television, and film adaptations, and had the great displeasure of watching a "colour blind" local production of A Christmas Carol a few years ago that filled me with irritation and upset. I have listened patiently to professors, friends, girlfriends who swore by Dickens; their eyes get twinkly when they talk about him, like they were talking about the Beatles or some shit to someone who maybe just hasn't heard the George Harrison tracks, yet, before forming an opinion. I read David Copperfield on a fancy-bound garage-sale find my parents brought home alongside volumes by Dostoyevsky, Cervantes, and Melville. They were to be my friends through elementary school when I had precious few of the human kind. You could say it was movies and these books that taught me English, and you wouldn't be far off. I still love those other authors. I still hate Dickens.