Vanity Fair 2004

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Vanity Fair ★★½ 2004 (PG-13)

In William Makepeace Thackeray's novel “Vanity Fair,” Becky Sharp is an unrepentant social climber. But with Witherspoon tackling Becky in director Nair's version, such calculation just wouldn't do. Becky still aspires to climb the slippery social ladder in early 19th century Britain, but here she has a heart. Becky first flirts with the wealthy, foppish brother (Maudsley) of her sweet-but-dim friend Amelia (Garai) but cannot bring him to marriage. She then rolls the dice with dashing gambler/soldier Rawdon Crawley (Purefoy). However, things never quite turn out for greedy Becky. Nair's hard-pressed to cover the novel's 30 years and multiple subplots so the film has a rushed feeling. Witherspoon is plucky but the supporting cast of British stalwarts (Hoskins, Atkins, Broadbent, etc.) gives the endeavor its panache. 137m/C VHS, DVD . US GB Reese Witherspoon, Eileen Atkins, Jim Broadbent, Gabriel Byrne, Romola Garai, Bob Hoskins, Rhys Ifans, Geraldine McEwan, James Purefoy, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Douglas Hodge, Natasha Little, Tony Maudsley; D: Mira Nair; W: Matthew Faulk, Mark Skeet, Julian Fellowes; C: Declan Quinn; M: Mychael Danna.