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3.8 out of 5 stars54
3.8 out of 5 stars
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on 7 May 2009
i had been doubtful that a southern belle could play an englishwoman convincingly, but was wrong - reese witherspoon is wonderful as becky sharp in the most colourful, inspiring version of vanity fair.

the marvellous cast, direction,lighting, scenery and props all fuse perfectly into a film which delights the visual senses and transports the viewer to the time and place.

brilliant!!
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on 19 February 2013
Not being English and not having had a chance to see the BBC drama, I bought this DVD even ignoring that there IS a BBC version. Well, I did finish watching this longish video but I wish I had had the courage to just throw it out. The beautiful costumes made it partially worth - and I kind of liked the smile Reese Witherspoon employed so willfully, showing sweetness and employing steeliness to get to her to the social platform... Some characters were grotesque, some v weak - in MHO it lacked the drive I wished for to read the book - which is often the case when I watch a BBC adaption. You'll forgive me for being harsh as I don't know HOW the author painted his characters in the book but I simply couldn't care anymore for any of the figures by the end of the film. I also felt it was a hasty ending or did I miss the `message'? I just realized that Becky WON the `big prize' which is not what I expected from the story. All in all a wasted evening for me. Would however love to see the BBC adaptation now.
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on 8 January 2008
It's easy to be cynical of a film whose main protagonist is an American playing a character in English literature, and it is also very easy to criticise their performance. Before watching this film I did wonder whether Reese Witherspoon was merely cast in the role of Becky Sharpe in order to bolster the film's budget. And then I thought imagine if a Keira Knightly (god forbid) had been cast, and suddenly old Witherspoon didn't seem so bad after all. No one bats an eyelid anymore that Renee Zellweger was cast as Bridget Jones, although I concede her accent is a damn sight more convincing. That being said I think Witherspoon does a rather good job in a role that is at times rather disagreeable. In the film's favour `Vanity Fair' boasts an excellent supporting cast, tribute to the fine acting talent Britain possesses. The sets and the costumes are also extremely lavish and Mira Nair injects some refreshing nods to Bollywood's use of colour, dance and music. I wholly enjoyed this film despite it being disjointed in places, and I care not a whim for whether it is faithful to the book or not as I haven't read it, and this is a film adaptation after all. However I do intend to read the book now, so if the movie encourages more to read the classics then its alright by me!
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on 4 January 2006
Historical inaccuracies litter the costumes and settings (spot the William Morris wall paper) and the characterisation appears confused at the best of times. It was impossible to tell if the main protagonists were weak minded or strong willed as attitudes appeared to change from scene to scene.
However, the faults appear to confine themselves to the direction, production and script and on the plus side there was some lovely photography to enjoy and the whole thing was saved by some very decent performances from the leading actors. Having decided to put up Reese Witherspoon in a very British role I was whole heartedly delighted to be won over by her compelling performance.
Worth a go but don’t get too excited.
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VINE VOICEon 6 July 2012
An enjoyable costume drama if slightly soft focus. It portrayed many of the who/whom issues of society very well without labouring them. The references to India were great texture.

Reece Witherspoon was a revelation. I can do no better than quote Bob Hoskins in the DVD extra, you'd never have realised she was American.

The other names in the cast deliver too. Less dark than e.g, Vanity Fair (Repackaged) [DVD], the story of Becky Sharp, social climber, is well told. Great entertainment.
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I haven't read the book, so came at the movie with no preconceived ideas. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Reese Witherspoon is excellent in the lead and the directors vivid use of colour is remarkable.

The film is overlong at 2hrs 15mins and loses it's way in the middle, but the start and finish are of a quality that I can forgive this.

Overall, if this genre of movie is your thing, I would recommend you hire it, with a note caution from reading other reviews, that if you are looking for an accurate re-telling of the book, look elsewhere.
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on 6 August 2014
I haven't read the book (although I do have a copy and intend reading it) and I haven't seen the BBC production. I watched just over an hour of this movie before giving up. I felt like so much was missing. The characters were wooden and the plot jumped un-seamlessly from one scene to the next. It was as if the producers assumed people had read the book and so could fill in the gps and motives of people.
I hope the BBC production is better.
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on 8 July 2010
I loved the start of this film, but it just seemed to drag on and on and had a terrible ending. It was long and boring!
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on 13 April 2013
This costume romp will doubtless appeal to those who don't, or can't, read the novel, with which it bears little resemblance. Most astonishing, Reese Witherspoon simply does not understand the character of Becky Sharp. She is massively outclassed by Natasha Little's BBC performance. Oddly, Natasha Little appears (in a different role) in this lacklustre production. By contrast, the BBC production catches the Thackeray spirit perfectly.
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VINE VOICEon 2 June 2005
I have never read the epic novel nor watched any TV adaptation of it before I saw "Vanity Fair - The Movie", so I can't really make comparisons with these. However I didn't think that "Vanity Fair" really worked as a coherent film. Primarily that was because it was too short, although the movie lasts well over two hours.Characters and relationships never had time to get developed properly and I didn't think there was any great emotional depth conveyed by the film or its leading performers. It was all a bit shallow and insubstantial.
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