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Author Topic: Vanity Fair - What did you think?
DonnyBGood
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posted 05 September 2004 11:00 PM      Profile for DonnyBGood     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Vanity Fair - the movie - better than the book!


..wonderful film. Takes the ideas in the novel to another level...

[ 05 September 2004: Message edited by: DonnyBGood ]


From: Toronto | Registered: Jan 2004  |  IP: Logged
ShyViolet
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posted 06 September 2004 02:55 AM      Profile for ShyViolet     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
i saw it today....it was AWESOME!!!!!
From: ~Love is like pi: natural, irrational, and very important~ | Registered: Aug 2004  |  IP: Logged
bittersweet
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posted 06 September 2004 01:39 PM      Profile for bittersweet     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
To each their own. I thought this Vanity Fair was to Thackeray as Chicago (the movie) was to Bob Fosse.

A nice, spunky, ethical Becky Sharp?! Way to destroy one of the most fascinating heroines of all time.

An example of the kind of fateful creative decision that separates the two heroines, book and film: In an attempt to insinuate herself into aristocratic society, Becky gains invitation to a soiree and is snubbed until Lady Steyne takes pity and requests a song. The 2004 Becky sings Tennyson’s “Now Sleeps the Crimson Petal,” and Lady Steyne is moved to tears, presumably because Becky's wonderful voice externalizes the true beauty of her soul. In 2004, these two are soul-sisters, the long-suffering Lady Steyne and young Becky Sharp. The other Ladies slowly gather round too, and I feared a group hug might break out. The Marquess whispers to Becky: “You’re in the door…” though it looked for all the world like she’d just won American Idol.

And imagine it, aristocratic ladies stripped down for a saucy MTV-Bollywood number for the King of England! Lady Gaunt and Co. doing the Folies Bergeres!

The episodic storyline lurched from one supposedly climactic event to the next, leaving out the contextual foreplay. The result seemed to me only melodrama and faked satire. Wham-bam!

Julian Fellowes, who wrote Gosford Park, needed Robert Altman’s sensibility this time round. Nice costumes, though.


From: land of the midnight lotus | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged
al-Qa'bong
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posted 06 September 2004 01:46 PM      Profile for al-Qa'bong   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
A nice, spunky, ethical Becky Sharp?!

Really?

If so, blecch.

One of the greatest moments in English literature was when Miss Sharp tossed her gift dictionary out the carriage window.

She's absolutely repulsive, yet completely attractive.

I won't be going to this film, by the sounds of it.


From: Saskatchistan | Registered: Feb 2003  |  IP: Logged
bittersweet
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posted 06 September 2004 03:09 PM      Profile for bittersweet     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
She tosses the dictionary out of the carriage in the first scene. Nice set up...and then she turns out to be virtuous the rest of the way. There's no scheming, only good luck. Right up to the big pink bow happy ending when Nair cuts to a gratuitous (and expensive) last shot of Becky's marriage in India, and her saying, also gratuitiously, "It's so beautiful..." as she rides into a palace--in the sunset--on the back of an elephant, her old suitcase (stencilled, carefully, with the initials "R.S." rather than the short form--now that would have been satire!) strapped to the beast's backside. This romantic wish-fulfillment ("Isn't the East so much nicer?") deliberately omits any sense that she's poised to drain Jos's purse. But the costumes are nice.
From: land of the midnight lotus | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged
Jesse Hoffman
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posted 06 September 2004 06:10 PM      Profile for Jesse Hoffman     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Didn't like it either. To me, the film simply seemed like a mess. Vanity Fair is a really long, complicated novel and the film winds up feeling more like a "scenes from" than a cohesive whole in its own right. Witherspoon was miscast, and I thought her accent was, well, terrible.

The art direction and costumes were very nice, probably the best thing about the movie.

[ 06 September 2004: Message edited by: Jesse Hoffman ]


From: Peterborough, Ontario | Registered: Jan 2004  |  IP: Logged
khrisse-boy
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posted 08 September 2004 07:59 AM      Profile for khrisse-boy     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Never read the book myself but overall I quite enjoyed the movie. Acting was good, the costuming excellent, the story compelling and Reese and many of the other actors, both female and male, were very pleasant to look at

Flaws: the storyline lost coherence towards the end... it seemed like they were trying to do way too much. The last-minute coming-to-her senses of Becky's best friend was more than a little unbelievable and the fromage factor was sky-high. I'm not quite sure what the director was trying to accomplish with the periodic India scenes.. was s/he highlighting the colonialism that English society was built on or was s/he just injecting some exoticism into a story set in an un-exotic setting of Victorian England? If I recall correctly the director also did Monsoon Wedding and so my suspicion is a bit of both. Nevertheless, I did think that the India bits could have been left out and we would have been left with a tighter and more coherent script. Anyway, very enjoyable from my perspective, but then I didn't have high expectations.


From: Ottawa, ON | Registered: Jan 2003  |  IP: Logged
jbrouillard
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posted 11 September 2004 01:11 AM      Profile for jbrouillard        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Judgment: if you worship the book, you will apparently not like the movie. Otherwise, I highly recommend it. The cinematography is gorgeous (watch for the light in the park scene). The characters are handled deftly and maturely: no character is wholly repulsive or wholly attractive.
India in the film: in European culture India is usually offered as an escape to the exotic or the unconscious. In this film, India functions as a breath of fresh air and human normalcy: it throws into relief the fetid exoticism, the absurd and painful ritualism, that was (is?) European society in the 19th century.
There are delicious anachronisms scattered throughout -- Shakespeare would certainly applaud those as well as the liberty taken with the source material.
Amelia's instant change and the dramatically unprepared re-entry of Jos at the end were tolerable glitches in an otherwise satisfying film.
Recommendation: do see the movie. There are few enough good ones around.

From: New England USA | Registered: Sep 2004  |  IP: Logged
Rerun
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posted 15 September 2004 03:48 PM      Profile for Rerun     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Nuh-uh. I worshipped the book and enjoyed the movie quite a bit. I wasn't expecting it to approximate the novel in scope or complexity or genius--and it didn't--but I hoped it at least would do justice to the story and Becky's character. Yes, a few of Ms. Sharp's edges were dulled here and there but I thought Nair did an amazing job of encapsulating VF's admittedly byzantine plot. Plus, it was visually gorgeous and the choice of actors was dead on.

I'm really perplexed the lukewarm response it's been getting from so many critics. Especially compared to the usual crap coming out of Hollywood. Perhaps Ms. Nair is seen as having overstepped her boundaries? If Ron Howard made this movie, there'd be Oscar talk.


From: Vancouver | Registered: Sep 2004  |  IP: Logged
bittersweet
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posted 15 September 2004 04:25 PM      Profile for bittersweet     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Encapsulation isn't dramatization. That's the source of the criticism, and the poor box office.
From: land of the midnight lotus | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged

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