Saturday, February 25, 2006

VANITY FAIR
Reese Witherspoon, Gabriel Byrne, Rhys Ifans, Romola Garai, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Bob Hoskins, James Purefoy, Jim Broadbent

"All's fair in love & war"

HBO


Rebecca Sharp

I guess it is rather unfortunate that I've never read William Makepeace Thackery's novel. But surely it can't be as bad as this movie portrays it to be. The story of a poor orphan named Rebecca Sharp who manipulates her way into society is set in London in the 1800s. In short, she is the epitome of the ultimate social climber. The film spans from her early childhood up to a period of about 20 years. She encounters several characters all of whom she manipulates somehow all for the purpose of establishing her way in a harsh society which looks down on her poor heritage. Pretty much the norm during those days, the intrigues, the rumors and all those malicious gossips which can ruin someone's reputation. So blessed with such a rich array of material to work on, it is unfortunate that Director Mira Nair didn't do the book, justice. Most of the characters hardly age throughout the entire film, the scenes are scattered and poorly edited. There were also a lot of Indian undertones from the music, a dance and some really gaudy costumes. Reese Witherspoon who portrays Rebecca Sharp doesn't come across as being cunning enough. Her youthful demeanor makes it hard for us to believe she can be anything but manipulative. Her English accent comes and goes which was annoying. Gabriel Byrne is relegated to a small role. You have a whole bunch of English actors vying for attention as their characters are not allowed to really shine and flourish in the movie.
The only positive thing in this film is the beautiful landscape as well as the colorful attires depicting that era. Otherwise you better just grab a copy of the book and get lost in Thackeray's words about a girl named Becky Sharp.

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