The British Empire flowers; exotic India colors English imaginations. Becky Sharp, the orphaned daughter of a painter and a singer, leaves a home for girls to be a governess, armed with pluck, a keen wit, good looks, fluent French, and an eye for social advancement. Society tries its best to keep her from climbing. An episodic narrative follows her for 20 years, through marriage, Napoleonic wars, a child, loyalty to a school friend, the vicissitudes of the family whose daughters she instructed, and attention from a bored marquess who collected her father's paintings. Honesty tempers her schemes. No aristocrat she, nor bourgeois, just spirited, intelligent, and irrepressible. Written by
Believe it or not, I am under the age of 20 and have read this novel purely out of interest and found it to be an amazing piece of work. Thackeray's unique writing style in "Vanity Fair" is captivating. I saw the movie only a week after finishing the book, with the details fresh in my mind, to be immensely displeased. I have read a number of excellent comments that go into detail of the faults of the movie, so I plan to keep this brief for those wanting a shorter critique.
At least half of the characters were misrepresented. I believe the only two relatively-accurate main characters were Jos Sedley and Rawdon Crawley. Becky was completely dismantled into something with scarcely a semblance of what she is portrayed as in the book. The character Dobbin was undefined; George Osborne was snobbish instead of cocky; his rigid father suddenly became sympathetic (way too early and much too far); not to mention troves of other discrepancies. I understand the goal may have been to come up with a more abridged version, but there were changes made that had nothing to do with shortening the screenplay. Besides, there were a number of musical pieces that could have been cut in order to use the time more beneficially by preserving some of the integrity of the film.
Thackeray would have been appalled at this hack job.
Were it not for my love for time period films, and the possibility of enjoying this movie as something very separate from the book, I would not care to see it again. At least the filming was impressive, though that hardly makes up for the rest. The theatrical trailer is the best part of the movie.
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