Click to enlargeBut 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

This page was created on September 13, 2004
This page was last updated on June 13, 2005

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About this Film
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Directed by Mira Nair
Novel by William Makepeace Thackeray
Screenplay by Julian Fellowes, Matthew Faulk and Mark Skeet

Cast (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

Produced by
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, and MPAA.ORG.
Parents, please refer to PARENTALGUIDE.ORG

Trailers, Photos
Vanity Fair
Mychael Danna
Vanity Fair
by William Makepeace Thackeray, John Carey

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Click to enlargeOne 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.

The 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.

Becky's 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.

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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.

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Click to enlargeVanity 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.

Review continued here


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