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Vanity Fair (2004)



Average Rating: 5.8/10
Reviews Counted: 164
Fresh: 83 | Rotten: 81

A more likable Becky Sharp makes for a less interesting movie.


Average Rating: 5.7/10
Critic Reviews: 43
Fresh: 23 | Rotten: 20

A more likable Becky Sharp makes for a less interesting movie.



liked it
Average Rating: 3/5
User Ratings: 48,462

My Rating

Movie Info

William Makepeace Thackeray's witty assessment of the British class system, as seen through the experiences of one young woman, is brought to the screen with some serious star power in this period comedy drama. Becky Sharp (Reese Witherspoon) is a bright and ambitious girl born to a poor British family. Becky is determined to make something of herself however she can, and after accepting a job as a nanny for the children of the powerful and aristocratic Sir Pitt Crawley (Bob Hoskins), she wastes

Feb 1, 2005


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All Critics (174) | Top Critics (46) | Fresh (83) | Rotten (81) | DVD (28)

It's lavish but lulling, and at two hours and 18 minutes, it's something of a bore.

September 10, 2004 Full Review Source: New York Observer
New York Observer
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A less than absorbing adaptation of Thackeray's sprawling but sharp-witted classic.

September 10, 2004 Full Review Source: New York Observer
New York Observer
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Scene by scene and moment to moment, it's a woeful misreading of the book.

September 4, 2004 Full Review Source:
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Witherspoon moves director Mira Nair's version of Thackeray's social satire forward at a good clip, making Becky's rising and falling fortunes an intensely watchable spectator sport.

September 3, 2004 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

There is no depth beneath its bright surfaces, no potent emotional undercurrents.

September 3, 2004 Full Review Source: TIME Magazine
TIME Magazine
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A charming movie that falls short of greatness, but is still worth a solid recommendation.

September 3, 2004 Full Review Source: ReelViews
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Lovely literary adaptation with class issues, battle scenes.

December 29, 2010 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

From the ostentatious costumes by designer Beatrix Aruna Pasztor ("Wonder Boys") to the annoying male hairstyles that permeate every scene, "Vanity Fair" is a movie that depends on its overall visual effect to hypnotize audiences into overlooking the film

April 18, 2009 Full Review Source:

Yay! England sucks and India is cool! Well, except for that troublesome caste system, of course.

July 25, 2007 Full Review Source:

In Vanity Fair's universe without heroes, shameless central character Becky Sharp would have surely felt supremely at home stuck on Temptation Island, or in the boardroom of The Apprentice.

May 15, 2007 Full Review
Long Island Press

To our utter delight, these stories and messages are told with superb acting, amazing costumes that burst with color and texture, and dazzling locales.

November 10, 2006
Christianity Today

Es una sólida adaptación de la novela de Thackeray por la que bien vale la pena pagar el boleto.

November 27, 2005

Becky's adept maneuvering through upper society's pitfalls is sometimes muddled from too many characters and too little explanation, but Witherspoon remains fun to watch...

April 14, 2005 Full Review Source: Reel Times: Reflections on Cinema
Reel Times: Reflections on Cinema

Not at all the stiff costume drama bore I thought this movie was going to be.

February 4, 2005 Full Review Source: Laramie Movie Scope
Laramie Movie Scope

Witherspoon is the only thing that kept me watching Vanity Fair even as my eyelids morphed into anvils.

February 2, 2005 Full Review Source: Fantastica Daily
Fantastica Daily

Lacking a character we really care about, we're left floundering in a mud puddle of human misbehavior. [But] the performances are all impressive.

December 31, 2004
Looking Closer

As Vanity Fair rests unsteadily between floral elegance and grim satire, Mira Nair's auteurist touches keep it engaging as it fails to get a grip on Thackeray's scope.

November 25, 2004 Full Review

In Vanity Fair, Witherspoon presents a complex character beautifully, even when her character's choices vastly depart from her own values.

November 23, 2004 Full Review Source:

Reese Witherspoon is miscast in this poor adaptation of the popular novel.

November 14, 2004 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com

Even though the central stories are compelling, dividing the film between them means we never have anyone to grab hold of.

October 19, 2004 Full Review Source: Shadows on the Wall
Shadows on the Wall

It has all the feel of a clone.

October 6, 2004 Full Review Source: Cinema Signals
Cinema Signals

I knew Scarlett O'Hara and you, Ms Witherspoon, are no Scarlett O'Hara

October 4, 2004 Full Review

The director's vision seems as obstructed by affectation as the vision of the classist characters in her film.

September 26, 2004
Tyler Morning Telegraph (Texas)

Reese's piece certainly looks good, it's just not terribly engaging.

September 20, 2004 Full Review Source: Movie Boeuf
Movie Boeuf

Although long and disjointed, with characters...from Gone With the Wind, and burdened by (terrible) audio..., Vanity Fair is an entertaining film that held my interest.

September 18, 2004 Full Review Source:

Nair... revels in Thackeray's lampooning of genteel class warfare...

September 17, 2004 Full Review Source: Flick Filosopher
Flick Filosopher

Audience Reviews for Vanity Fair

I see I liked this as I rated it 4 stars, but just tried to rewatch it today and it honestly did nothing for me. I don't like period pieces in general, I can only put it down to I was going through a Reese Witherspoon phase. That might have cooled a bit since her drunken antics, although there are still movies I love her in. This apparently isn't one of them. Will keep original rating as it was valid at the time, and to be fair I switched this off 20 minutes in and can't remember a lot about it, maybe it improves.
Oh, and Reese staring in this while pregnant was a real dud move. They have filmed and dressed her to hide it, but it's still pretty obvious.
December 3, 2013

Super Reviewer


It's period set pieces are designed pretty well, the costume design is imaginative, and technically, Vanity Fair is kind of excellent. However, i'm not sure if i'm the only one who saw this but Reese Witherspoon's performance is a bit of a mixed bag, sometimes she acts convincingly, but in the more dramatic moments she tends to crack slightly. Also her character, Becca Sharp, like many have said is supposedly dislikable, even if the film managed to make her that way she still wouldn't be that interesting. Mainly due to it's incoherent uncertain style of storytelling. In addition the ending is highly unclimatic and as a whole, the film is just too long. It's not terrible because there are some good supporting performances, such as Tony Maudsley's, but it's often quite dull and lifeless and suffers from various sub plots and a bloated amount of unnecessary characters.
June 2, 2012
Directors Cat
Directors Cat

Super Reviewer

Yuck, just yuck. Long, dull, boring, ridiculous. So much does not make sense about this movie it's ludicrous why Mira Nair would decide to set part of in India. I know part of this is Thackeray's problem and not Nair's, but...seriously?
April 30, 2011

Super Reviewer

Period drama about a governess called Becky Sharp who is a ruthless social climber who will do anything to stay in London society. Good cast. Reese Wetherspoon is delightful.
April 4, 2010
T Tsang

Super Reviewer

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