Even with a running time of more than 2 hours, this kind of condensation means we race through the story's second half in a time warp not aided by Nair's garish, out-of-nowhere and out-of-place Indian interludes.
The movie has the look and feel of an ornate runaway carriage that cuts its own path through town and country. With Nair at the reins and Witherspoon as the passenger, we are in good hands and spirited company.
The peculiar quality of Vanity Fair, which sets it aside from the Austen adaptations such as Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice, is that it's not about very nice people. That makes them much more interesting.