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A more likable Becky Sharp makes for a less interesting movie.
All Critics (170)
| Top Critics (44)
| Fresh (86)
| Rotten (84)
| DVD (14)
This Vanity Fair delights the eye, but Nair may be too much the humanist for her own good: she hasn't the instinct for the kill.
It's lavish but lulling, and at two hours and 18 minutes, it's something of a bore.
A less than absorbing adaptation of Thackeray's sprawling but sharp-witted classic.
Scene by scene and moment to moment, it's a woeful misreading of the book.
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.
There is no depth beneath its bright surfaces, no potent emotional undercurrents.
Olivia Cooke's interpretation is probably the best Becky Sharp yet: She's intensely charismatic, with a little more bite, and toes the line between being faithful to the book and teasing out more modern feminist themes a little more smoothly.
Witherspoon could have made something of Vanity Fair if Nair had reinvented the novel the way the makers of Clueless reinvented Emma. Instead, she exploited it.
Though visually stunning, director Mira Nair's abridged tale never engages.
Lovely literary adaptation with class issues, battle scenes.
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
Yay! England sucks and India is cool! Well, except for that troublesome caste system, of course.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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