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Vanity Fair (2004)

PG-13 | | Drama | 1 September 2004 (USA)
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Growing up poor in London, Becky Sharp defies her poverty-stricken background and ascends the social ladder alongside her best friend, Amelia.

Director:

Mira Nair

Writers:

Matthew Faulk (screenplay), Mark Skeet (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
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Popularity
2,916 ( 261)
2 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Gabriel Byrne ... The Marquess of Steyne
Angelica Mandy Angelica Mandy ... Young Becky
Roger Lloyd Pack ... Francis Sharp
Ruth Sheen ... Miss Pinkerton
Kate Fleetwood ... Miss Pinkerton's Crone
Reese Witherspoon ... Becky Sharp
Lillete Dubey ... Ms. Green (as Lillette Dubey)
Romola Garai ... Amelia Sedley
Tony Maudsley ... Joseph Sedley
Deborah Findlay ... Mrs. Sedley
John Franklyn-Robbins John Franklyn-Robbins ... Mr. Sedley
Paul Bazely ... Biju
Rhys Ifans ... William Dobbin
Jonathan Rhys Meyers ... George Osborne
Charlie Beall ... Gambler
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Storyline

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 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. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

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

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA | UK | India

Language:

English | French | German

Release Date:

1 September 2004 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Vanidad See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$23,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$6,268,925, 5 September 2004, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$16,136,476

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$3,111,020
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Shot in fifty-five days. See more »

Goofs

During the dance scene, a musician plays a metal flute, which was invented by Theobald Boehm around 1832. See more »

Quotes

Maria Osborne: George is engaged. It's understood.
Mr. Osborne: And it can be un-understood.
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 »


Soundtracks

She Walks in Beauty
Lyrics by Lord Byron (as Lord George Gordon Byron)
Music by Mychael Danna
Produced by Mychael Danna
Performed by Sissel (as Sissel)
Sissel appears courtesy of Universal Music, AS Norway and Stageway Talent, AS
See more »

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User Reviews

Fairly Vain
21 October 2004 | by kealbertsonSee all my reviews

Elegant costumes, beautiful scenery, and piano playing in excess all add to the sights and sounds of Mira Nair's film 'Vanity Fair.' Her 2004 version is one of over ten tries to put William Makepeace Thackeray's novel onto the big screen. Most attempts failed miserably, lacking the magic of today's movies and failing to grasp the themes of the novel. Nair's version, with its visual and audible pleasures, has the potential to become one of the few successful attempts. With humble beginnings as a poor child with a starving artist as her father, Becky (Reese Witherspoon) was determined to overcome her circumstance. She managed to work her way into a governess position in a down-on-his-luck aristocrat. New opportunities arise, and she hastily abandons her post to become the companion to a wealthy woman known only as Miss Crawley (Eileen Atkins). Much to Miss Crawley's displeasure, Becky wastes no time in her quest to climb the social ladder and marries into the family. Becky's new husband, Crawley's nephew, is soon sent off to war. Returning after the battle of Waterloo, their marriage is rocky due to his gambling debts and her never-ending quest to raise her social status. Meeting a man who collected her late father's art, she uses his money and his influence to continue her rise in the social hierarchy, causing more distress to their marriage. Nair attempted to bring something new to the film, using her fantastic creative talents in the costuming and scenery. Her musical choices weren't overwhelming and accented the film rather than hiding behind its beautiful visual aspects. She tried to cover the expanse of the novel, but ending up making a summary of the story and leaving the characters bland and undeveloped. Nair intentionally portrays Becky as a victim of the social system, showing her as merely taking advantage of circumstantial events. This contradicts harshly with Thackeray's Becky, who is manipulative and cunning, turning circumstantial events into anything that will benefit her rise up the social ladder. This movie is beautifully made and had the potential to become something great, but Nair's overly eager attempt leaves it as nothing more than another mediocre film. Had she paid as much attention to the plot and the characters as she did to the audio and visual aspects, this would definitely be the best film of the year. But she didn't, so don't waste your seven dollars to see it in the theater. Wait for the video, or better yet, wait for that one Friday night when you are home alone and it comes on cable.


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