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Vanity Fair (2004)

PG-13 | | Drama | 1 September 2004 (USA)
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Growing up poor in London, Becky Sharp (Witherspoon) defies her poverty-stricken background and ascends the social ladder alongside her best friend, Amelia.



(screenplay), (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
2 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Angelica Mandy ...
Ms. Green (as Lillette Dubey)
John Franklyn-Robbins ...


The British Empire flowers; exotic India colors English imaginations. Becky Sharp, the orphaned daughter of a painter and a singer, leaves a home for girls to be a governess, armed with pluck, a keen wit, good looks, fluent French, and an eye for social advancement. Society tries its best to keep her from climbing. An episodic narrative follows her for 20 years, through marriage, Napoleonic wars, a child, loyalty to a school friend, the vicissitudes of the family whose daughters she instructed, and attention from a bored marquess who collected her father's paintings. Honesty tempers her schemes. No aristocrat she, nor bourgeois, just spirited, intelligent, and irrepressible. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


In a time of social climbers, Becky Sharp is a mountaineer. See more »



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some sensuality/partial nudity and a brief violent image | See all certifications »



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Release Date:

1 September 2004 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Vanidad  »

Box Office


$23,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$6,268,925 (USA) (3 September 2004)


$16,123,851 (USA) (5 November 2004)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Daniel Craig was considered for a part. See more »


When Becky watches her son leave in a carriage, the boom mic operator is briefly reflected in the carriage's rear window. See more »


Becky Sharp: Are you trying to steer me towards an indiscretion?
Rawdon Crawley: Would you like me to?
Becky Sharp: No man has managed it yet.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Before the credits start rolling the word "Alvida" (goodbye) appears in Urdu script. Beneath it is the following dedication: for our beloved Ammy Kulsum Alibhai 1927-2003 See more »


Featured in Siskel & Ebert: Episode dated 28 August 2004 (2004) See more »


The Mermaids Song
Music by Joseph Haydn
Produced by Mychael Danna
Performed by Custer LaRue
Custer LaRue appears courtesy of The Dorian Group, Ltd.
See more »

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User Reviews

Ironically, 'Vanity Fair' is a very fitting title for this inexpressive and characterless remake of a true classic.
22 January 2005 | by (Ireland) – See all my reviews

I had the somewhat unfortunate job of accompanying two teenage girls to my viewing of Vanity Fair. As any cinema attendee will know, there is nothing more irritating then two talkative teens, with the attention span of goldfish, chatting throughout the entire film. All their interest was well gone by the time Gabriel Byrne strutted onto the screen, and although it pains me to admit it, my interest had slowly subsided with theirs.

Although beautiful shots, skillful performances and magnificently designed sets came bountiful, there was still one vast absence that was so dearly missed. This was the charm, the charisma and the fascination that connects the audience with the characters. The scenes didn't fuse well and felt shabbily thrown together. Acknowledged events came as surprises and characters lost their appeal and distinctiveness. Becky Sharp, played by Reese Witherspoon, became aggravating and tedious, and any sympathy, understanding or patience for that matter, was lost to a plot so drawn and witless, it made 'Charlie's angels' seem thought provoking.

The charm and the magic of the William Makepeace Thackeray novel were forgotten in this drawn and soulless remake of a classic. Worth the watch for the costumes and set alone, but expect nothing more.

39 of 54 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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