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Movie Info




September 1, 2004




Reese Witherspoon, Eileen Atkins, Jim Broadbent, Gabriel Byrne, Romola Garai, Bob Hoskins


Mira Nair


Julian Fellowes, Mark Skeet, Matthew Faulk


Janette Day, Donna Gigliotti, Lydia Dean Pilcher


Focus Features


Novel by William Makepeace Thackeray


Please Note

In providing movie reviews on our site, is not endorsing or recommending films we review. Our goal is to provide Christians with information about the latest movies, both the good and the bad, so that our readers may make an informed decision as to whether or not films are appropriate for them and their families.


Vanity Fair

By Phil Boatwright
The Movie Reporter - The daughter of a starving English artist and a French chorus girl, Becky Sharp is orphaned at a young age. Even as a child, she yearns for a more glamorous life than her birthright promises. As she leaves Miss Pinkerton's Academy at Chiswick, where she's treated like a scullery slave for years, Becky resolves to conquer English society by any means possible. She deploys all of her wit, guile, and sexuality as she makes her way up into high society during the first quarter of the 19th century.

But Becky's conniving drive to be accepted in society is always met with consternation. Strained friendships, a rocky marriage, shunned by rich relatives, and exploited by a powerful patron, Becky's life does not go smoothly. Bolstered by a revolutionary feminist resolve, Becky squarely meets each challenge and bests life's defeats.

Tweaking the social mores of the day, Vanity Fair is simply exquisite. Beautifully photographed and splendidly acted, this Georgian-era melodrama is full of wit, humor, and passion. Its engrossing Dickens-like storytelling may not be as moving as Great Expectations or as wickedly humorous as Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility, but certainly Vanity Fair is a worthy heir to those classics.

Rating: PG-13 -- There is some subdued sensuality in the form of low-cut dresses, and a brief sexual encounter between man and wife (no nudity or graphic gyration), but the filmmakers are careful to pay homage to the mores of the day. For example, when a man tries to lure a young Becky to bed, she informs him that only two men shall enter her bed chamber -- her husband and the doctor. There is partial non-sexual backside nudity as an old woman gets out of a bathtub. The violence is carefully handled as we see dead bodies on a battlefield in one scene, showing the reality of war, and a brief violent image as a man attempts to force himself on a woman. No objectionable language, no sexual exploitation and no excessive violence.

Phil Boatwright is the editor of The Movie Reporter. Review used by permission. Go to Phil Boatwright's website at for details on how to have reviews of new films delivered directly to your e-mail address.

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