Sep 062004
 
Authors: Andrew Nuth

Becky Sharp, played by Reese Witherspoon, was orphaned at a young age when her father, a starving but up-and-coming artist, dies. Now she has left the orphanage to become a governess for a fairly wealthy family. This is just the beginning for Becky. She continues her social climbing for many years, and this is the story of “Vanity Fair.”

Witherspoon’s performance is a far cry from her “Legally Blonde” movies. In “Vanity Fair,” her acting is serious and she proves that she does not need to rely on comedy to showcase her acting skills.

While Witherspoon is without a doubt the movie’s star, the other actors follow her lead and step up with great performances. James Purefoy, who plays Rawdon Crawley, performs next to Witherspoon for most of the movie. The two actors play off each other in a very realistic fashion that is pleasing to watch.

A character that deserves more attention is William Dobbin, played by Rhys Ifans. Dobbin is a nice guy, and while he is not forgotten, he does fade into the background for a large portion of the movie. Dobbin shows more personality than most of the characters and mediates between the characters, to keep the story moving along.

It is hard to keep track of all of the characters in “Vanity Fair.”

As the movie progresses, there are more than a few large time jumps, some announced, some not. The jumps in time are necessary to tell the story, but they are executed in such a way it makes it hard for the audience to discern whether it is a scene change or time lapse. The passing of time could be fixed with better writing and editing to help signal the time change.

The costumes were very impressive, most notably Becky’s.

It is interesting to see how Becky makes her way into high society, but the story is dragged out too much with large amounts of dialogue that aren’t necessary. Cutting about a half-hour from the movie would have made it more easily digestible. While the story isn’t a particularly exciting one, it is interesting to watch Becky’s journey and see how she affects the people she encounters. The writers could have made more of an effort to show Becky’s deviousness to make her character more interesting.

Vanity Fair is what many would label a Chick Flick. The movie is long, two hours and 20 minutes, but it is an interesting story. Three out of four

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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