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Vanity Fair

Where to Watch Vanity Fair

PG-13
2004

Vanity Fair, released in 2004, is a sumptuously detailed adaptation of William Makepeace Thackeray's renowned 19th century novel. The film charts the tumultuous journey of a determined young woman navigating her way through the complexities of 19th-century British society with cunning and allure.

In this lavish period drama, directed by Mira Nair, an Indian filmmaker acclaimed for her ability to blend cultural traditions and narratives beautifully, Reese Witherspoon shines as the compelling protagonist, Becky Sharp. Witherspoon effortlessly brings to life the cunning and perseverant spirit of Thackeray's famous anti-heroine, embarking on a quest to elevate her social standing and secure a more prosperous future. Among her peers at a prestigious finishing school, she readily stands out for her fiery spirit and unabashed ambition, quickly grabbing the attention of those around her, for better or worse.

The story begins in earnest when Becky, an art teacher's daughter, leaves Miss Pinkerton's Academy for Young Ladies to serve as a governess for Sir Pitt Crawley's (Bob Hoskins) daughters. Here she meets Crawley's handsome son Rawdon Crawley, portrayed by the charming James Purefoy, thus beginning a series of romantic entanglements, family dramas and societal intrigues.

Reese Witherspoon's performance is impeccably complemented by a stellar ensemble cast. The movie features top-notch performances by strong British actors, Romola Garai as Amelia Sedley, Becky's kind-hearted but naive best friend, and Gabriel Byrne as the Marquess of Steyne, a wealthy and influential aristocrat. Interestingly, the movie also features a cameo from Bollywood star Sanjay Dutt, which underscores director Mira Nair's Indian roots.

Throughout the narrative, Vanity Fair illustrates how the social system in 19th- century England, marked by strict class divisions, patriarchy, and hypocrisy, significantly influences individual destinies. However, Becky, undeterred by societal constraints, attempts to maneuver her way to the high society by capitalizing on her beauty, wit, and charm.

From spectacular costumes to opulent sets, Vanity Fair is as visually stunning as it is narratively compelling. Cinematographer Declan Quinn masterfully recreates the 19th-century setting and brings to life the elegance of British aristocracy with its lavish balls, exquisite mansions, and sophisticated attire. The production design by Maria Djurkovic is period-accurate and aesthetically captivating, immersing the audience in a world of grandeur and excess.

Perhaps one of the unique aspects of Nair's Vanity Fair is the subtle infusion of Indian culture. The deliberate use of Indian background score, costumes, and an Indian prince character are cleverly incorporated, mirroring the colonial connection between England and India during the period, and providing an unconventional interpretation to Thackeray's classic novel.

However, Vanity Fair isn't just beautiful backdrops and resplendent costumes; it's a masterful exploration of the human condition under the weight of societal pressures. It offers a thought-provoking satire of vanity and hypocrisy that are just as prevalent in today's society as they were in the corridors of 19th-century British high society.

Vanity Fair, with its compelling performances, lavish production design, and resonating themes, takes the audience on an unforgettable journey into a different time and space. With her distinctive interpretation, director Mira Nair succeeds in making a movie that attempts to go beyond being a mere period piece. It's a testament to the irrepressible human spirit, embodied by Becky's relentless ambition, set against the vanity and hypocrisy of high society.

To sum it up, Vanity Fair reimagines the 19th-century British society in glorious color and vivid detail, with Reese Witherspoon delivering a compelling performance as a woman bold enough to challenge the norms and expectations of her time. It’s a visually glorious and thought-provoking voyage through the glittering, yet often cutthroat world of aristocratic England. Entwined in its romantic intrigues and societal drama, the movie offers audiences an immersive ride through history, with a distance that both fascinates and offers a critique of its time.

Vanity Fair is a Drama, Romance movie released in 2004. It has a runtime of 135 min. Critics and viewers have rated it moderate reviews, with an IMDb score of 6.2. It also holds a MetaScore of 53.

How to Watch Vanity Fair

Where can I stream Vanity Fair movie online? Vanity Fair is available to watch and stream, buy on demand, download at Amazon Prime, Peacock Premium, Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play, YouTube VOD, Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent Vanity Fair for a limited time or purchase the movie for downloading.

6.2/10
53/100
Director
Mira Nair
Stars
Reese Witherspoon, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, James Purefoy, Gabriel Byrne, Eileen Atkins, Bob Hoskins, Romola Garai, Jim Broadbent
Also starring Romola Garai
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