Vanity Fair

Reese Witherspoon, James Purefoy, Natasha Little, Eileen Atkins, Jim Broadbent

Directed by Mira Nair
Rolling Stone: star rating
5 2
Community: star rating
5 2 0
September 1, 2004

Orphan turned opportunist Becky Sharp made her lusty debut in the pages of William Makepeace Thackeray's 1847 novel Vanity Fair. Well, the bitch is back. And Reese Witherspoon, sporting a credible British accent, gives Becky some of the hard steel of her career-best role as Tracy Flick in 1999's Election. This is all to the good. What rankles is how the Reese shine that sold Legally Blonde and Sweet Home Alabama also seeps into the mix. It's one thing to understand Becky — do we have to love her, too? The fault here may lie with Indian director Mira Nair (Monsoon Wedding), who understandably expands on the novel's India themes but insists on reshaping Becky as a "modern woman." The strain shows. There are pleasures in the script, co-written by Gosford Park's Julian Fellowes. The snob George Osborne (Jonathan Rhys-Meyers) says of Becky, "I had thought she was a social climber — I can see now she's a mountaineer." And in small roles, Gabriel Byrne and Eileen Atkins make huge impressions. But in an effort to blend Thackeray and Sex and the City, Vanity Fair ends up nowhere.

Movie Review Main Next


Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...


Sort by:
    Read More

    Movie Reviews

    More Reviews »
    Around the Web
    Powered By ZergNet
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.


    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories


    Mariah Carey | 1995

    Serendipity stuck when Mariah Carey rediscovered the glitchy Tom Tom Club hook, a sample of which is the heart of this upbeat slice of dance pop. "I had the melody idea for 'Fantasy' and I was listening to the radio and heard 'Genius of Love,' and I hadn't heard it in a long time," Carey said. "It reminded me of growing up and listening to the radio and that feeling the song gave me seemed to go with the melody and basic idea I had for 'Fantasy.' I initially told [co-writer] Dave Hall about the idea, and we did it. We called up the Tom Tom Club and they were really into it."

    More Song Stories entries »