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Vanity Fair [DVD]


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Product details

  • Actors: Gabriel Byrne, Eileen Atkins, Jim Broadbent, Romola Garai, Bob Hoskins
  • Directors: Mira Nair
  • Producers: Janette Day, Lydia Dean Pilcher, Donna Gigliotti
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Dubbed: None
  • Subtitles For The Hearing Impaired: English
  • Audio Description: None
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: Universal Pictures UK
  • DVD Release Date: 3 Aug. 2009
  • Run Time: 141 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0009F68AM
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 29,805 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Product Description

Adaptation of Thackeray's satirical masterpiece about the constant battle for wealth and social success amongst the aristocracy of the early nineteenth century. In a society growing rich on the wealth generated by an expanding empire, Becky Sharp (Reese Witherspoon) is the ambitious daughter of a poor family, who will let nothing stand in her way in her attempt to climb the social ladder. Taking a position as nanny to the children of Sir Pitt Crawley (Bob Hoskins), Becky insinuates her way into the family's favours and into London society, eventually marrying Crawley's eldest son Rawdon (James Purefoy). When Rawdon proves to be a gambler and a drunkard, Becky wastes no time in approaching the influential Marquess of Steyne (Gabriel Byrne), in the hope that he will help advance her position. But will Becky Sharp come to regret the ruthlessness of her agenda, and can she keep climbing the social ladder forever?

From Amazon.co.uk

The corsets and high waists of the 19th century meet the lush colors and visual splendor of India in Vanity Fair, a classic novel translated into modern celluloid by Mira Nair (Monsoon Wedding). The very contemporary Reese Witherspoon (Legally Blonde, Election) at first seems to hit the wrong note as Becky Sharp, an orphaned girl who rises to the heights of society using her quick wits and feminine wiles. But as Vanity Fair unfolds, the movie's tone embraces both period decor and modern attitudes, searching for a bridge that will carry us more deeply into a different time. It isn't wholly successful--the movie's end wraps things up awkwardly--but some scenes achieve a surprising and vivid immediacy, in particular one in which Becky's gambler husband (elegant James Purefoy) catalogues his worth for her before going off to the Napoleonic battlefields; love and pragmatism fuse with heartbreaking results. --Bret Fetzer, Amazon.com

Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Mac on 30 Mar. 2006
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Just watched the movie version of Vanity Fair and drew the following conclusions.
It bears little resemblance to the excellent BBC version of some years ago.For one thing; the main character(Becky Sharp) has been
sanatised out of all proportions. Indeed; it would appear she's been elevated to the rank of Sainthood by the film's Director!
Most of the male leads have little to do except appear as "male totty" for the ladies to admire. The actor playing Captain Dobbin
(a pivitol character) gives a very wooden performance throughout the film.
However:
I found the best way to approach the film, was to view it as a
big budget version of a Catherine Cookson story.Indeed; the first
15 minutes of the film give this feeling(including the flowery
musical soundtrack)....so: going on this assumption; the movie is
a great vehicle for Reece Witherspoon(who outacts everyone else).
The settings are elaborate and very colourful. There's a running
Indian theme thoughout the film which is reflected in some of the
costumes...I felt that the movies strongest point was way it assaults your eyes..
And of course,it has a happy ending (it actually has 2 happy endings!). As I said before, If you like Catherine Cookson you'll
love this film.
But: if it's the story of Vanity Fair you want,read the book or
get the BBC version.
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 2 Feb. 2006
Format: DVD
Oh my, I wish I hadn't wasted neigh on two hours of my life to watch this. I love Reese Witherspoon and really do want her to make a good movie. But this isn't it.
Good points first -- beautiful! Visual stunner of a film, thanks to the director of photography, set designer, costume designer, make-up people... anyone who had anything to do with the visuals gets a thumbs up.
Bad points -- the director plays it safe and, therefore, everything is boring. This is supposed to be a stinging story about one of literatures most notorious social climbers. This woman is supposed to be the original material girl, serious bad news, out for herself, character you love to hate and hate that you love her. But not in this glossy film. Reese is sweet as pie and they had to change the ending so that we can have a Hollywood/Disney photo op to close out on. Ugghhh!
Well, I hear there is a BBC version out there that I might give a try.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 23 Jun. 2005
Format: DVD
Although Becky Sharpe is generally more sympathetic here than in the novel and the ending - with Becky apparently happily travelling with Josh Sedley in India - is certainly different, I still enjoyed this. It has lush sets and costumes, with a lot of attention to period detail, and good performances. However if you are looking for Thackeray's satire, you may be disappointed as much of it is missing and the film, although containing the basic plot, does not really have enough time to develop the characters. I say enjoy, but don't exactly expect the book.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 2 Aug. 2005
Format: DVD
This film looks gorgeous and I think Nair has stuck faithfully to the tone of the story in all but one respect - the character of Becky.
She seems to wish to soften her up a bit from the Thackery depiction of her character - to make her more sympathetic. The Becky Sharp of the book was a more dauntless and unprincipaled adventuress and I feel that Nair has not allowed Witherspoon (usually so good at comedy) a chance to really go to town in this role.
She seems far more an innocent victim of Lord Steyne (for eg) than an amoral manipulater who's only real regret is that she is found out, which is much more the feeling I got from Thackery. Don't get me wrong, I think we are menat ot sympathise with her -I did in the book because it's hard not to sympathise with somone who is so determined and dauntless.
But in any case this was very watchable and fun and I would highly recommend it to anyone - but I would also read the book first.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Iset TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 12 Oct. 2014
Format: DVD
If you're expecting a film adaptation that's 100% faithful to the source material, or a Regency romance in the model of Jane Austen then you won't find it here, but you may still find an unexpectedly compelling, bittersweet life adventure story.

Becky Sharp is a penniless orphan with nowhere to go, except wherever her wits can manage to take her. She is totally unashamed about using those wits and charm to inveigle herself into the affections of society’s more fortunate, or to win herself a husband with money and prospects. Her manipulation is quite obvious, and yet it’s difficult to dislike Becky. She’s been dealt a rotten hand in life and yet she works hard to improve it – something we can all understand – and the disapproval she faces from high society due to her low birth belong to a bygone era, making her sympathetic to a modern audience. Becky deliberately sets out to climb the social ladder, and make money off the elite, and yet she still remains a sympathetic figure – she’s not without certain scruples. With her unique charisma the scales the highest rungs of society, coming to the attention of the Prince Regent, but at the end of it all she’s still at the mercy of fickle high society, who make sure she falls as quickly as she rose when she angers powerful people.

All this is set against the backdrop of a very cosmopolitan Britain, at a time when the British Empire spanned the globe and British forces were engaged in a decisive struggle against the Napoleon. No small country gentry setting for Vanity Fair. This is a Britain awash in vibrant colour as the luxuries and fashions of the empire flooded into the country from India, Africa, the Americas, and trade with China and Japan, replete with exotic sights and smells that were all the rage during the Regency.
Read more ›
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