- 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
- Studio: Universal Pictures UK
- DVD Release Date: 3 Aug. 2009
- Run Time: 141 minutes
- Average Customer Review: 55 customer reviews
- ASIN: B0009F68AM
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 19,438 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)
Vanity Fair [DVD]
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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?
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.comSee all Product description
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Problems are in the script, narrative, tone and themes. This is not the fault of the source novel but of the Hollywood friendly adaptation. The film focuses on two main themes in my opinion class structure and Women. The films exploration and satire on class is very good and has aged really well. However, its portrait of women is different. Let me outline the story.
The story is of Reese Witherspoon, seducing and braking hearts as she rises from the lower class to the upper class struggling with the conflict of having women look down on her while all men drool over her.
When people in the making of described the tale as a feminist one, I scoffed. Just because the director is female does not make it a feminist film. Sadly, more than 90% of the conversations the female character have are about men. The leads goals are to do with men, the narrative is driven by what man she is with at the time. She uses men from start to finish to get what she wants. This especially annoyed me in the ending to the film where she plays with the emotions of a man so that she can start a new life in India. That ending feels like such a cop out, she has learned nothing, she doesn't achieve anything on her own but only by being the sexual play thing of a man she has no feelings for whatsoever. It angered me when they said in the making of it was a feminst film. If you buy the DVD check out the deleted scenes where it has a much better alternate ending featuring a pre-Twilight Robert Pattinson. The thing that annoyed me so much is that it could have been a feminist film. This is not the ending from the novel but a awful Hollywood friendly one that is pure trash and I found offensive.
The actual production and performances are absolutly magnifcent but in terms of what the film is actually about and it's view on women it is not the feminist film people involved in the production have claimed it to be. This adaptation has sold out a great female character to make Hollywood drivel, the new ending will make you cringe it is that bad and offensive.
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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