User Score
6.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 19 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 19
  2. Negative: 0 out of 19
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  1. ChadS.
    Sep 3, 2004
    7
    What's most intriguing about "Vanity Fair" is that being rich might be more important to Becky (Reese Witherspoon) than being a mother. When her son takes his first steps, Becky stays at her piano rather than gush at closer range over what most parents find to be a monumental event. In other relationships, some clarification would've been helpful. In particular, does Becky lose What's most intriguing about "Vanity Fair" is that being rich might be more important to Becky (Reese Witherspoon) than being a mother. When her son takes his first steps, Becky stays at her piano rather than gush at closer range over what most parents find to be a monumental event. In other relationships, some clarification would've been helpful. In particular, does Becky lose touch with Amelia (Romola Garai) because she's ashamed of her poverty, or did her former best friend end the relationship after her climb up the social ladder? Becky has a cruel streak. Becky hands Amelia a letter that changes her context forever, and the film pretends that she has done her a kindness. Collapse
  2. J.Y.
    Sep 15, 2004
    4
    First of all the story had a lot of gaps, i had to strugle sometimes to put things together (this is not a suspense flick, things shouldn't have to be 'put together') and the photography was weak, a dissapointment. It's a shame Gabriel Byrne was in this, he's better than this.
  3. DavidC.
    Sep 2, 2004
    9
    I loved it. You get lost in the story a bit at certain points, but you easily understand what's going on a few scenes later. I laughed at certain times when only a few others in the theater also did, so it might not be for everyone. IMO, this movie should receive an oscar nod for costume design and art direction. It's fun to see Reese in a very different role, you can tell she I loved it. You get lost in the story a bit at certain points, but you easily understand what's going on a few scenes later. I laughed at certain times when only a few others in the theater also did, so it might not be for everyone. IMO, this movie should receive an oscar nod for costume design and art direction. It's fun to see Reese in a very different role, you can tell she really enjoyed doing this film. And ***SPOILER, there's a great ending. Expand
  4. BlancoA.
    Sep 6, 2004
    7
    The movie is good, but not great. And I would venture to say that it's a little LONG. There definitely could have been some fat shaved off the film's bones. I suppose the film is more realistic than others of its ilk because Becky certainly doesn't become one of the most likable people in the world by the end of this bildungsroman. What I found especially weird was that I The movie is good, but not great. And I would venture to say that it's a little LONG. There definitely could have been some fat shaved off the film's bones. I suppose the film is more realistic than others of its ilk because Becky certainly doesn't become one of the most likable people in the world by the end of this bildungsroman. What I found especially weird was that I was the only one in the theatre laughing at the obvious laugh lines. Did the Santa Monica crowd not get the movie??? Puzzling. Expand
  5. CM
    Sep 7, 2004
    7
    First, it should be said that Reese Witherspoon transitioned wonderfully from Elle Woods, sorority girl, to Rebecca Sharp, "mountaineer"! I was really impressed with her performance and I'm excited to see her take on more dramatic roles, b/c I know it's in her to give more than just a good 'blonde' joke. Secondly, the costumes were great! Totally loved them. And there First, it should be said that Reese Witherspoon transitioned wonderfully from Elle Woods, sorority girl, to Rebecca Sharp, "mountaineer"! I was really impressed with her performance and I'm excited to see her take on more dramatic roles, b/c I know it's in her to give more than just a good 'blonde' joke. Secondly, the costumes were great! Totally loved them. And there was plenty of witty, biting humor to keep you laughing. But the reason I gave this a 7 instead of something higher was due to the fact that it seemed some of the relationships failed to flesh out properly. It was almost like there was more story there but it was cut due to time restraints. So mabye the DVD will reveal a director's cut or extra scenes that can help fill in the blanks a little. But overall the film was enjoyable, fun, and emotional, all at once. Expand
  6. IlzeS.
    Jan 8, 2006
    9
    Movie was good, I liked everyone in this movie. I think, it
  7. VinceH.
    Oct 6, 2004
    4
    The only way I can describe what happens to the middle of this film is this example: Imagine swimming on the surface of a lake, then getting a heavy stone tied to your foot and sinking. That is what happens here. The first part of the film, which introduces Becky and her various run-ins with bachelors and her new home, is well-paced and entertaining. I hate to use the word "Slogging" The only way I can describe what happens to the middle of this film is this example: Imagine swimming on the surface of a lake, then getting a heavy stone tied to your foot and sinking. That is what happens here. The first part of the film, which introduces Becky and her various run-ins with bachelors and her new home, is well-paced and entertaining. I hate to use the word "Slogging" mainly because every other critic uses it, but that's a good way to describe it. Once Becky settles down with Rawdon, the movie becomes dull and boring to the point of exhaustion. Mira Nair is a great filmmaker, and directed my favorite movie of 2002 (Monsoon Wedding) and many others, and the direction throughout is in the style of a woman's weepie of the 1950's or something. Except for a scene where Becky dances with some Indian girls, it is weak. The script doesn't completely encapsulate the pungent satire of Thackery's novel, and it's not as concise or involving either. Which is odd since Julian Fellowes (who wrote the great "Gosford Park") had a hand in it. Overall not so much bad as dissapointig, especially considering the talent involved. Expand
  8. GregB.
    Nov 8, 2005
    10
    An extravagant and very well acted retelling of Thackeray's masterpiece of EnglIsh manners and mores at the beginning of the 19th century.
  9. DavidW.
    Jan 23, 2005
    10
    Low expectations ("Barry Lyndon" I found dull) but my goodness this was stellar stuff. The film is not a ten but the performances are and what can I say; it worked for me.
Metascore
53

Mixed or average reviews - based on 41 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 41
  2. Negative: 3 out of 41
  1. The spirit of that most modern of 19th century heroines, Becky Sharp, remains intact, and Nair's Indian touches make for an intriguing, fresh approach.
  2. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    60
    Nair's approach never entirely convinces, and the adaptation of the 900-plus-page book becomes increasingly episodic, making this Vanity Fair more a collection of intermittent pleasures than a satisfying emotional repast.
  3. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    60
    Nair and Witherspoon pull back from the ferocity of Thackeray's portrait: they're afraid we won't find Becky Sharp likable enough. Yes, she's the most brilliant, bold and vibrant creature in this social panorama, but she should also be chilling.