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Vanity Fair

I'll admit up front: I've never read Vanity Fair, so I can't comment on how this movie compares against the book. However, Vera and I did greatly enjoy Monsoon Wedding, which was also directed by Mira Nair, so we felt this one was worth a shot.

As a period piece, Vanity Fair does a reasonable job, with lush sets and stuffy, uptight people obsessing over class and social order. This kind of thing can be fun when done well (I really enjoyed Gosford Park, for example, even though it was very stuffy and very talky :-), but here it just seemed like a bunch of bitter unlikeable people out to get each other's money when they died.

Having not read the book, I thought Reese Witherspoon did fine as the heroine, though I have heard from others who have read the book that she lacked "bite" as Becky Sharp. I did like the fact that her attempts to rise up the social ladder did not always succeed nor necessarily better her life.

Overall, it was a diverting couple of hours, but not as good as I was hoping. 2.5/4 stars.