Vanity Fair (2004)

PG-13  |   |  Drama  |  1 September 2004 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 6.2/10 from 16,854 users   Metascore: 53/100
Reviews: 146 user | 117 critic | 41 from

Growing up poor in London, Becky Sharp (Witherspoon) defies her poverty-stricken background and ascends the social ladder alongside her best friend, Amelia.



(screenplay), (screenplay), 2 more credits »
Watch Trailer
0Check in

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Video

2 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Vanity Fair (TV Mini-Series 1998)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

An adaptation of William Makepeace Thackeray's classic story of parvenue Becky Sharp's rise from obscure & humble origins to her subsequent ignominious fall from Society; set amongst the ... See full summary »

Stars: Natasha Little, Frances Grey, Philip Glenister
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

In 1890s London, two friends use the same pseudonym ("Ernest") for their on-the-sly activities. Hilarity ensues.

Director: Oliver Parker
Stars: Rupert Everett, Colin Firth, Frances O'Connor
Emma (1996)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

In rural 1800s England things go bad for a young matchmaker after she finds a man for another woman.

Director: Douglas McGrath
Stars: Gwyneth Paltrow, James Cosmo, Greta Scacchi
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

At 10, Fanny Price, a poor relation, goes to live at Mansfield Park, the estate of her aunt's husband, Sir Thomas. Clever, studious, and a writer with an ironic imagination and fine moral ... See full summary »

Director: Patricia Rozema
Stars: Frances O'Connor, Jonny Lee Miller, Alessandro Nivola
Comedy | Fantasy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A lonely landscape architect falls for the spirit of the beautiful woman who used to live in his new apartment.

Director: Mark Waters
Stars: Reese Witherspoon, Mark Ruffalo, Donal Logue
Penelope (2006)
Comedy | Fantasy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A modern romantic tale about a young aristocratic heiress born under a curse that can only be broken when she finds true love with "one who will love her faithfully."

Director: Mark Palansky
Stars: Christina Ricci, James McAvoy, Reese Witherspoon
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A dramatization of the turbulent first years of Queen Victoria's rule, and her enduring romance with Prince Albert.

Director: Jean-Marc Vallée
Stars: Emily Blunt, Rupert Friend, Paul Bettany
The Duchess (2008)
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A chronicle of the life of 18th century aristocrat Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, who was reviled for her extravagant political and personal life.

Director: Saul Dibb
Stars: Keira Knightley, Ralph Fiennes, Dominic Cooper
Tess of the D'Urbervilles (TV Movie 1998)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A free-spirited yet naive country girl is caught between her wealthy, manipulative "cousin" Alec and the handsome, educated farmer Angel Clare in this Victorian tragedy from novelist Thomas Hardy.

Director: Ian Sharp
Stars: Justine Waddell, Jason Flemyng, Oliver Milburn
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

A young woman with a Southern background runs away from her husband in Alabama and reinvents herself as a New York socialite.

Director: Andy Tennant
Stars: Reese Witherspoon, Patrick Dempsey, Josh Lucas
Emma (TV Mini-Series 2009)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

Emma Woodhouse seems to be perfectly content, a loving father whom she cares for, friends, and a home. But Emma has a terrible habit - matchmaking. She cannot resist finding suitors for her... See full summary »

Stars: Romola Garai, Michael Gambon, Jonny Lee Miller
Aristocrats (TV Mini-Series 1999)
Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

18th-century England and Ireland viewed through the eyes of four beautiful high-born sisters - Caroline, Emily, Louisa, and Sarah Lennox, great-granddaughters of a king, daughters of a cabinet minister, and wives of politicians and peers.

Stars: Siân Phillips, Alun Armstrong, Ben Daniels


Cast overview, first billed only:
Angelica Mandy ...
Kate Fleetwood ...
Ms. Green (as Lillette Dubey)
John Franklyn-Robbins ...


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 <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


In a time of social climbers, Becky Sharp is a mountaineer. See more »



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some sensuality/partial nudity and a brief violent image | See all certifications »



| |


| |

Release Date:

1 September 2004 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Vanidad  »

Box Office


$23,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$6,268,925 (USA) (3 September 2004)


£204,693 (UK) (14 January 2005)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Robert Pattinson had his scenes as Becky's son, Rawdy, deleted in the final edition. See more »


When Becky watches her son leave in a carriage, the boom mic operator is briefly reflected in the carriage's rear window. See more »


George Osborne: [as Becky plays a piano forte] So, Miss Sharp. How do you like your new place?
Becky Sharp: My place? How kind of you to remind me. It's quite tolerable, thank you. And they treat me very well. But then, this is a gentleman's family... and quite a change from tradespeople.
George Osborne: You seemed to like tradespeople well enough last year.
Becky Sharp: Joseph Sedley, you mean? It's true. If he'd ask me, I would not have said no.
George Osborne: How very obliging of you.
Becky Sharp: I know what you're thinking. What an honor to have had you for a brother in-law....
See more »

Crazy Credits

Before the credits start rolling the word "Alvida" (goodbye) appears in Urdu script. Beneath it is the following dedication: for our beloved Ammy Kulsum Alibhai 1927-2003 See more »


Referenced in Jeopardy!: Episode #22.196 (2006) See more »


Gori Re/O Fair One
Lyrics by Javed Akhtar
Music by Shanker Ehsaan Loy
Performed by Shankar Mahadevan and Richa Sharma
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Vanity Fair Tries In Vain
24 October 2004 | by (ABQ) – See all my reviews

Vanity Fair is a beautiful mess. It combines the beauty of elegant costumes, sets and people with the disaster that is Mira Nair's adaptation of William Makepeace Thackery's novel. Not only is the adaptation bad but also so is what Nair has done with it. If you read the book, the movie will break your heart. It has completely ripped to shreds the pages of the classic story.

If you haven't read the book and intend to waste your money on the film, I would recommend that first you read a couple of plot summaries of the novel. Otherwise, you may be very lost through no fault of your own but because there is no defining plot in the film. There are no central conflicts presented and it's not until about two thirds of the way through that you have at least an idea of what is trying to be done here. Even then, it is unclear. Reese Witherspoon plays Becky Sharp, a social climber. Vanity Fair is supposed to be her story but instead, it is crowded by a confusing and unnecessary cast of supporting characters. I suppose Vanity Fair is a story about love but also about how the social class system can create a barrier between people. If this was the intended idea the supporting cast would be needed but Vanity Fair is supposed to be about Becky Sharp and the movie is far too much of an ensemble piece for that to be the case.

Mira Nair's direction is too present. She throws in too much of herself with the scenes about India and actually in India. Where the hell is the point? There just seem to be times when Nair thought it was okay to throw in another shot of an elephant's ass or belly dancers or India food.

Speaking of unwanted, Reese's second child was not credited in the closing credits but is in every scene Reese is. Witherspoon and the crew seemed to think they could hide the fact that she was pregnant by putting her in big clothes but that didn't work. She still looks pregnant and it ruins the effect the clothes should have had. It also puts the movie out of sequence. In one scene Reese is very large and in the next you can only see her belly if you look for it.

Vanity Fair could have been brilliant. The material is there, Reese bring to the table the range that we have come to expect from her and a performance that could have taken her places if it had been used better. But the fact remains that there are too many moments where ends just don't meet and the audience is confused to the point where the film can't rely on its pretty scenery to distract from its larger flaws. *1/2 out of *****

58 of 89 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Costuming Question bauhausblack
NOT Victorian! leelee1592
She Was An 18th Century Attention Wh+re LetMeFly
Does Becky love Rawdon? swirlypink8
Edward Pattinson? xxmirandaxx32
Bollywood or Bust fullserve
Discuss Vanity Fair (2004) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: