Vanity Fair - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Vanity Fair Reviews

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½ May 13, 2013
Period pieces. Love them or hate them, they'll always be classic, they'll always be here, and they're not for everybody. "Vanity Fair" is odd because, while it's a bit more modern than most, it still manages to ring with familiarity. It's well-made, and has terrific acting, I'll give it that-- but "Vanity Fair" struggles mostly because it's tough to really love. After all, "Pride and Prejudice" is much more famous. Becky Sharp (Reese Witherspoon) comes from the tragic past of a poor family, but as she grows up, she is determined to throw her background behind her and climb the social ladder, all the way to the top. She's a mountaineer, a character quips. Becky starts with humble beginnings, winning a job as a governess for the aristocratic Crawley family. She charms everyone, and catches the eye of the handsome son, Rawden (James Purefoy), and they secretly get married. But Becky's dreams of being at the top of the social pyramid begins to wane quickly. "Vanity Fair" has the visual feel of the sumptuous "Girl with a Pearl Earring", but it's a little more light and flavorful in tone. The mood of the lighting shifts along with the weather and contrasts with the emotion of each scene. It's so beautiful to look at, that's we're instantly reminded why period pieces are still popular. The thing that sticks out in "Vanity Fair" though, is its characters. You know when you watch other films in the same vein and mean characters slip in and out of scenes like snakes but manage to steal them anyway? The film revolves around those secondary characters, and thanks to this aspect as well vas the visual style, it makes the flaws just a little bit prettier. And you still can't help but watch with utter fascination as these characters eloquently insult and deceive one-another. It's one thing to have a film filled with, let's say, not nice people, but when they can get away with it and still look good, it's rather impressive. But the luminosity of everything is just surface level. "Vanity Fair" is overlong, and is so full of characters (though many are great fun to watch) that it's hard to keep track of their purpose to keep the plot moving. The story never totally connects together, and while the art presented here is certainly delectable, it instantly gives the film the label as a style over substance film. You can tell especially that when Becky is social climber and the film's only reason why she does it is because she was poor. While much of everything here is flawed, Witherspoon's performance is very good and by no means is she badly cast here. Mira Nair does an excellent job of creating the world of "Vanity Fair", but she fails to make a thoroughly entertaining film. Movies are a world in which it's important to feel involved, but it never occurs here. We can sit here and look at all of the gorgeous color and atmosphere, but the film's too long for that. The ending of the film is explosive, but everything moves around with not much energy. "Vanity Fair" is a beautifully made adaptation, but not too much more. There's so much going on at once that it bogs the film down much more than it truly deserves.
½ April 18, 2013
Almost as dull as it sounds
April 14, 2013
Got bored and found this on Itunes. I'd recommend this movie to anyone looking for a good original story.
April 9, 2013
What's wrong with this movie can be summed up by the scene after the Battle of Waterloo. It's beautifully photographed, vivid, full of extras and you don't believe for a second that these artfully posed corpses are really dead. The parts of Vanity Fair are far greater than the whole.

As a whole the characters are unlikeable and stupid in their inability to see what's obvious to the viewer. Jonathan Rhys Meyers smirks and is sullen. Rhys Ifans character, dull, but with a heart of gold, keeps the hairdresser busy as he changes styles constantly. The only character you like is Rawdon Crawley, but his failure to kowtow to his rich relatives dooms him and he dies offscreen. Witherspoon is two hours of plucky, it gets old very quickly.

Don't waste your time, spend it in rereading Thackeray's masterpiece.
March 31, 2013
great movie. great cast.
March 3, 2013
The female "Barry Lyndon!"
February 26, 2013
It was okay enough. It is a drama. Normally I like historical dramas, I think because they are like documentaries with larger budgets and more flair. This is now that, just straight up drama.
February 5, 2013
Would have watched if they didn't cut Robert Pattinson out of it. I've seen the scenes that ended up on the cutting room floor,....too bad. He would have spiced this up from what the other reviewers are saying.
January 23, 2013
Visually beautiful, and I love Reese, but she was all wrong for Becky Sharp.
January 22, 2013
I watched this entire movie and I don't know what it was about. There are so many characters and I don't remember what any of them did. Why is she named Becky? That question haunted me the whole movie long. Her trunk that begins with her could have been a nice through-line, but what. Actually, someone tell me, what? What did her son look like? I am also wondering this. Doesn't the guy who plays Rawdon look like Hugh Jackman? Why didn't they just get Hugh Jackman. Here is what I learned from the movie: you can start as a whore and try not to be a whore but you'll be a whore, maybe in India.
January 6, 2013
Just Netflix'd this costume drama starring Reese Witherspoon. It was long, at times confusing, and considering the span of time no one aged a bit. One of those little finds on Netflix streaming that you realize it's streaming because it's pretty fair...and all the boys had the faux mohawk thing going on too. But the film was made more than 8 years ago and the hardest thing to swallow is that it seemed like only yesterday.
½ December 22, 2012
Not a bad movie. I like the storyline I just felt the entire movie was too long.
½ December 15, 2012
This is the classic movie for the girl who wants to write her destiny.
December 10, 2012
Disappointing... weak and uninteresting.
½ December 7, 2012
This i felt was a very clever movie with flair and colour. A classic novel becomes a classic movie with delectable reese witherspoon in the lead role. Magical film with funny bits and a loving core at its sweet centre.
November 30, 2012
I'm very disappointed in this movie, more the story. However, it may be the movies inability to portray Rebecca Sharp in the evil way she should've been portrayed. The reason I say this is because I'm mad that Rebecca and Rowden broke up. I liked Rowden, well more particularly, I liked James Purefoy. (I wish he was in more movies.) The movie didn't really make it seem like Rebecca deserved to be left like she was, so I was upset.
½ November 10, 2012
I really liked this one.
November 7, 2012
visually spectacular, but the movie misses much of the themes of the book, leaving the actors only a flat script to play off of
November 5, 2012
Likebble, fantastic costumes and set design, but nothing spectacular
½ October 24, 2012
I have loved this movie since it came out, I think it's a wonderful adaptation of Thackeray's work. I happened to catch this on tv last night, the first time I'd seen it in a couple of years and it still wows me. Today I found the alternate ending, which really kind of changes the movie a bit.. it definitely redeems Becky's character some. I had wondered why Robert Pattison was listed as a cast member in the credits well that's why, he played her son as an adult in the cut scene. If you're a fan of the movie, check out the alt ending on youtube. If you haven't seen the movie, and you enjoy period pieces like I do, then give it a watch.
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