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Vanity FairVanity Fair

Starring: Reese Witherspoon, Gabriel Byrne, Rys Ifans, Bob Hoskins, Jim Broadbent and so on...
Directed by: Mira Nair



Bluntly speaking? Vanity Fair is a big-n-bulgy gorgeous bore. Visually the film's as beautiful and intricate as a Fabergé egg. But one doesn't need to spend two hours starring at a jeweled egg either…

Story goes…its 1810-ish, and Rebecca Sharp, aka Becky (Reese Witherspoon), is a "common girl" with aspirations of climbing the ever present societal ladder in a snotty England which frowns upon breeding with the "help." She's the help - a lowly governess.

Her mother died long ago…and her father, now dead as well, had been a somewhat starving artist whose paintings were desired by a dark-styled Marquis (Gabriel Byrne). This will come into play later on in her saga…

We watch as Becky delicately claws her way up to the bigger house and finer things, while meeting all sorts of richer cads along the way. She's a resilient sort that wields her hopes of wealth and stature openly - with pinkies up and head perched.

As Becky grows into a woman and mother she nearly achieves the impossible before she discovers, perhaps happiness, not gold, is what makes you the wealthiest of all…we watch her lives twists and turns within a beautiful setting that you can almost smell it's so real.

Vanity's little Becky is no bitchy time-faring villain or Jane Eyre sort. Heck, she's not really even a bad girl. So you never wish her ill or revenge. And Bec's not a squarely good girl so you never wish her buckets of success. She just kind of is. And that's what keeps this lark from being grand. No oomph.

The story is riddled with dysfunctional Dickens-esque characters lurking, plotting, conniving, lusting, secretly admiring and being gullible waifs-in-waiting. Though, sadly, none are particularly menacing or "evil" and when the dollops of beautiful musical notes by Mychael Danna asks us to follow the drama bits in shock and awe we defiantly insist on upon waiting for a tad more before we agree to such nonsense.

Alas Vanity Fair's is the human's old (and told and told) saga of the rich looking down upon the help as ne'r do wells and unworthy mating partners. Your sure to recognize the personalities the story carries to you; beneath their fancy clothes and facades of yesteryear people still snub people based on wallet and birth lets face it.

Frankly, Vanity Fair is not a bad story and its tale (originally a "scandalous novel by William Thakeray) is reminiscent of PBS' Moll Flanders but with a stronger, "star' sprinkled, cast dancing about its winded soap Operatic tale as directed by Mira Naira and impeccably designed by Maria Djurkovic and costumed by Beatrice Aruna Pastzur.

Snack recommendation: Fish and chips with Pappadums.


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