The British Empire flowers; exotic India colors English imaginations. Becky Sharp (Reese Witherspoon), the orphaned daughter of a painter and a singer, leaves a home for girls to be a governess, armed with 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 twenty 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.Written by
Vanity Fair is a beautiful film, with gorgeous scenery and amazing costumes. However, it takes a great deal of concentration to figure out exactly what is going on.
Becky Sharp is the daughter of an artist and a chorus girl, far from respectable parents. When she finishes school, she does all she can to try to pull herself up in society, using her wit, intelligence, and sexuality. She ruthlessly climbs the social class ladder, but might have hit a small bump when she let herself fall in love.
The movie, while it has good intentions, fails to provide a smooth running plot. Instead, it it simply a viewing of the ways of Becky, played perfectly by Reese Witherspoon. Reese shines in the role, bringing humanity to the character, and makes you like Becky, despite her often malicious ways. However, not even she can make the plot clear in the first viewing. It took me a second time to love this movie.
The exotic feel of the Indian scenes is the best part, especially when Becky performs an Indian dance for the king. Its a beautiful scene. Also, the affection between Becky and Rawdon (a great James Purefoy) is endearing. A great movie, if you have the patience to figure it out.
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