Saturday, January 9, 2010

Vanity Fair (2004)

(click photo to watch trailer)
The movie Vanity Fair (2004) is based on one of the most beloved of all 19th century novels, by the same name, written by William Makepiece Thackeray, a contemporary and friend of Charles Dickens.

From IMDb:

"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 {}"

This is another film based on a book I have not read.
The book was written as a satirical commentary on English society.
It starts out with Becky leaving her boarding school and heading out on her first assignment as a governess. I won't repeat what the plot summary above says, but I will say that I was very interested in this story and in the character of Becky. She is very smart and I enjoyed watching her manipulate the people around her in society and proving them wrong. Reese Witherspoon is great at this role and I enjoyed watching her.
One thing I also really enjoyed about this movie was the costuming. It is AMAZING! I loved the dresses and different colors and outfits that were shown during everyday scenes and in the scenes where they showcased different cultures, especially India. It makes me very curious to read the book and find out how it is described by the author.
This has a great, but very tragic love story, so be prepared. It has happy parts but does not have an overly happy ending (for the "main" characters), so I am guessing the book does the same.
I would easily recommend this movie to anyone who enjoys historic romance. I don't believe I have ever read any of William Makepeace Thackery's work. I actually just confirmed that fact by looking him up. He was actually born in Calcutta, India, so that would explain all the vivid images of India in the movie! I think I will put this one on my "Victorian Reading Challenge" to do list!

update: I just found an alternate ending to the movie that was filmed. It actually includes the guy who plays Edward in the Twilight movies, but it was completely cut out of the final film. I actually really like the alternate ending. I thought it was sweeter than the actual ending. You can search for it if you end up watching the movie. Now I am even more intrigued to read the book and see what the "real" ending includes!


Muse in the Fog said...

I have seen the movie, and own the book (which I have not read LOL). I will have to look for the alternate ending, I did not really like the movies ending...hmmm I wonder which one it the correct version!

heathcliff said...

I own the book, too. And I haven't read it, either. It's a long book: my copy is nearly 900 pages.

Carrie said...

900 pages?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?


EmileeHope said...

I saw this movie ages ago and loved all the India parts as well. I just love anything that has to do with India!! (Plus I think Reese Witherspoon is simply adorable!!) I may have to give this one a try...but if it is really 900 pages that will have to go on a "someday" list!!

Laura's Reviews said...

I've read the book twice! It may be long, but it is worth the read. A witty and funny book about English society. Becky Sharp is the prototype for Scarlett O'Hara I think. She is a scheming woman, that you can't stop reading about.

I loved this movie too although it leaves out a lot of the book.

Emily Ann Benedict said...

I've seen another version of this movie, but as of yet have not read the book.
It sounds good, but sometimes I have trouble with sadder endings.

Oh, concerning your previous post on Persuation, the book is wonderful! It's a little more poetic than most of J.A. books, but wonderfully heartfelt.