as this film so clearly shows, without love, all is vanity. And despite
all that she gains and loses, love is the one thing Becky seems incapable
of either giving or receiving—unless it serves her purposes.
I cannot think of a better illustration of Christ’s words “And
how do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul
in the process?”
(2004) Film Review
page was created on September 13, 2004
This page was last updated on
June 13, 2005
—About this Film
Dial up modems will take a few moments
by Mira Nair
by William Makepeace Thackeray
Screenplay by Julian Fellowes, Matthew Faulk and
(in credits order)
Gabriel Byrne .... The Marquess of Steyne
Angelica Mandy .... Young Becky
Roger Lloyd-Pack .... Francis Sharp
Ruth Sheen .... Miss Pinkerton
Kate Fleetwood .... Miss Pinkerton's Crone
Reese Witherspoon .... Becky Sharp
Lillete Dubey .... Ms. Green
Romola Garai .... Amelia Sedley
Tony Maudsley .... Joseph Sedley
Deborah Findlay .... Mrs. Sedley
John Franklyn-Robbins .... Mr. Sedley
Paul Bazely .... Biju
Rhys Ifans .... William Dobbin
Jonathan Rhys-Meyers .... George Osborne
Ray Angelic .... line producer: India
Howard Cohen .... executive producer
Pippa Cross .... executive producer
Janette Day .... producer
Lydia Dean Pilcher .... producer
Jane Frazer .... associate producer
Donna Gigliotti .... producer
Jonathan Lynn .... executive producer
Original Music by Mychael Danna
Cinematography by Declan Quinn
Film Editing by Allyson C. Johnson
Rated Rated PG-13 for some
sensuality/partial nudity and a brief violent image.
For rating reasons, go to FILMRATINGS.COM,
Parents, please refer to PARENTALGUIDE.ORG
by William Makepeace Thackeray, John Carey
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of America's most popular stars, Reese Witherspoon, unites with one
of the world's most acclaimed directors, Mira Nair, to bring to the
screen one of the greatest female characters ever created, Rebecca
(Becky) Sharp. The new film version of the classic novel by William
Makepeace Thackeray introduces a new audience to the beautiful, funny,
passionate, and calculating Becky.
daughter of a starving English artist and a French chorus girl,
Becky is orphaned at a young age. Even as a child, she yearns for
a more glamorous life than her birthright promises. As she leaves
Miss Pinkerton's Academy at Chiswick, Becky resolves to conquer
English society by any means possible. She deploys all of her wit,
guile, and sexuality as she makes her way up into high society during
the first quarter of the 19th century.
ascension to the heights of society commences when she gains employment
as governess to the daughters of eccentric Sir Pitt Crawley (Bob
Hoskins). Becky wins over the children, and the Crawley family's
rich spinster aunt Matilda (Eileen Atkins) as well. The rural Hampshire
household comes to find her indispensable, and Matilda comes to
confide in the bright young woman. But Becky knows that she cannot
be a true part of English society until she moves to the city. When
Matilda invites her to come live in London, Becky eagerly accepts.
There, Becky is reunited with her best friend Amelia Sedley (Romola
Garai), who - having grown up comfortably - does not share Becky's
more brazen ambitions. Hewing close to the family she already knows
so well, Becky secretly marries dashing heir Rawdon Crawley (James
Purefoy) - but when Matilda discovers their union, she casts the
newlyweds out. When Napoleon invades Europe, Rawdon bravely reports
to the front lines. Pregnant Becky stands by distraught newlywed
Amelia, whose own husband George Osborne (Jonathan Rhys Meyers)
is also called to fight. When George does not survive the Battle
of Waterloo, Becky's friendship with Amelia is strained beyond repair.
Becky is reunited with Rawdon and gives birth to a boy, but, post-war,
money and comforts are sparse for the trio. More intent than ever
on gaining acceptance into London society and living well, Becky
finds a patron in the powerful Marquess of Steyne (Gabriel Byrne).
Steyne's whims enable Becky to realize her dreams, but the ultimate
cost may be too high for her.
When “Vanity Fair” was first published in 1847-48, author William Makepeace Thackeray subtitled his classic “A Novel Without A Hero.” In serial installments, the Indian-born writer satirized the universal human folly of seeking after the treasures of Vanity Fair – money, prestige and social status – as the primary aim in life.
The meaning behind Thackeray’s subtitle is lost in the latest cinematic interpretation of the classic novel (the 11th since 1911) by Indian-born director Mira Nair. In an era when Hollywood screenwriters study the hero’s journey as a common framework for successful films, it was perhaps inevitable that ruthlessly determined Becky Sharp would be cast as a hero, rather than as someone who achieves her ambition at tremendous cost to the lives of those around her.
Review continued here
Fair is the type of story for which words like “chicanery”
and “conniving” were invented. Although
this latest cinematic adaptation does not come across nearly as
biting or satirical as Thackeray’s novel must have seemed
when it first appeared in 1848, it still offers a clear glimpse
of how nasty British high society could be to those unfortunate
enough to be born without title or class during that time.
ON THIS FILM
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