Even Hundreds of Years
Vanity was Not Always Fair!
by The Blonde and the Maven
Vanity Fair is based on William Makepeace
Thackeray’s epic novel, Vanity Fair. Unlike other works
of fiction during this century, such as Jane Austen’s
Sense and Sensibility, which mostly dealt with kind,
genteel, yet gossipy people, Thackeray’s novel involves
unkind, unsympathetic, and generally cruelly
intentioned, genteel people.
Vanity Fair begins
with a young English woman, Becky Sharp, portrayed by
Reese Witherspoon (Legally Blonde, Cruel Intentions),
living in London during the Napoleonic Wars, who strives
to rise above her poverty stricken background and climb
the social ladder by any means necessary. This includes
overt flirting, intelligence, her vocal and piano
talents as well as all her feminine charms. Her only
friend from boarding school, Amelia Sedley played by
Romola Garai, invites Becky to her home for a visit with
her family after their graduation. Amelia hopes to play
matchmaker between her brother Joseph and Becky. These
plans are foiled by Amelia’s own fiancé Captain George
Osbourne, a society snob who always looks down on young
Becky. After the disappointment of the failed love
match, Becky moves on to her first real job as a
governess to the young children of Sir Pitt Crawley,
played by Bob Hoskins (Enemy at the Gates). Here she
meets the love of her life, who is the second son of her
employer, Rawden Crawley played by James Purefoy (A
Knight’s Tale). So leads Becky into an adventurous life
full of joy with Rawden as well as unfair cruelty by the
matrons of society. The reoccurring sinister character,
the Marquis of Steyne, played by Gabriel Byrne (The
Usual Suspects), always seems to mysteriously show up
throughout Becky’s life as if he were there to rescue
her but, in reality, causes her more pain.
Fair is a story of a young woman with no social standing
in a world that only respects those born into society.
Becky Sharp survives all the trials and tribulations of
her life using the gifts of beauty, wit, charisma and
intelligence with which she was born.
Blonde: Vanity Fair was like Sense and Sensibility meets
Emma meets Gone with the Wind meets Dangerous Liaisons.
I don’t want to start off by being catty, but…although
Reese did look pretty, didn’t she look a tad chubby?
Maven: Ummm, Blonde, she was pregnant when she made this
film! I think they hid it quite well at that!
Blonde: So! The question was, didn’t she look chubby?
Hello! Hello! Are you still there? Whatever!
I was quite happy that Reese got to finally show
off her acting abilities for a change. I loved the
Legally Blonde movies—I live them—but her character was
too one-dimensional. In this film, she was able to
display a British accent as well as a multi-dimensional
Maven: When I originally read Vanity Fair, I didn’t
really enjoy it very much. I wasn’t looking forward to
seeing the movie version. I have to thank Mira Nair for
directing this movie with a semblance of sympathy for
Becky Sharp’s character, unlike in the novel. A feisty
feminist long before such a term even existed, Becky
admirably tries to obey her cynical strategies but still
allows herself to be misled by her heart.
Blonde: Me too!
Maven: Yeah, but you’re not conniving. Reese gives Becky
the sympathetic nature to carry her character with a
moral code that makes for an engrossing and most
Blonde: Wow, you sound like a Becky wanna-be! But my
mind takes me in a totally different direction. Here’s a
thought that crosses my mind. Why, in the days-of -yore,
when woman were expected to be virginal, did they wear
those very revealing cleavage-type dresses? They were on
show for all to see! Now-a-days, when the world is more
sexually liberal, if you wore that busty of a style, you
would be gawked at and have people talking behind your
boobs, I mean your back.
Maven: I agree! But how can you be chaste when your
chest is displayed on a platter for all to
Blonde: I do? They do? They are? I think your referring
to Janet Jackson or perhaps Miss Britney Spears!
Maven: Before I wrap this up, I would feel remiss if I
neglected to mention the beautiful period-designs
created by Beatrix Anina Pasztor.
Blonde: Is that a man or a woman?
Maven: Not even going to answer that! I rate this
movie an A and see Oscar possibilities.
Blonde: Oscar? Oscar? Are you kidding me? You are so
easy. It was a lovely little film but Oscar? No! I
too enjoyed Vanity Fair, but rate it a B with no Oscar!
The Maven: Let’s put money on
Blonde: No, you won't pay! The only Oscar I see
here is if we go to the awards wearing Oscar De La Renta
gowns! I suggest you bring some old-fashioned rock
candy and throw it into your popcorn to munch on…and may
vanity be fair to all of you!
Just Remember, Girls,
When it Comes to Love,
Don’t Trust Anyone to Deliver
love quad-rangle thriller is the story of a young and
handsome Chicago advertising executive, Matthew,
portrayed by Josh Hartnett (Hollywood Homicide). He
becomes overly obsessed with a woman he sees in a café,
believing her to be his long-lost love Lisa, played by
Diane Kruger (Troy), who walked out on him two years
earlier without any explanation. Although Matthew is
presently engaged to yet another woman, his world is now
turned upside down. He puts his life as well as a
crucial business trip to China on hold. His search puts
him on a possible journey of danger when the plot
thickens. Matthew unknowingly gets himself involved with
a woman calling herself Lisa, as well. It is this
so-called Lisa who holds the key to this tangled-up
tale. Helping support Matthew in his love-crazed search
is his good buddy Luke, who also becomes obsessed with a
girl who claims to be an actress. You will be confused,
as the director wants you to be. Just stay and follow it
and you will begin to understand this mysterious love
Blonde: Wicker Park was like Endless Love meets Pulp
Fiction, meets Single White Female, meets Obsession and
Serendipity, meets Sliding Doors. This movie was like
watching my teenage daughter’s daily crisis love life. I
have enough problems of my own with love to have had to
deal with all of these nutty characters. Aye
Maven: Believe it or not, this film turns out to be a
romance. It starts out as a mystery and goes through
many plot twists. Eventually, you get to the core of the
movie, which is a true “love story.”
Blonde: Blah, Blah, Blah!
Maven: I never found it to be blah!
Blonde: Oh my gosh! Three quarters of this movie was so
blah that I was grateful they finally gave it a
storyline. I was praying to have a review to write
about. I know the author wanted to keep it a mystery,
but this was more of a mystery than where the hurricanes
will finally hit, for Pete’s sake!
Maven: What you saw as blah, I saw as carefulness to
draw you in without giving too much away too soon. The
suspense was building until I was ready to
Blonde: No, Maven… that was your bladder…You drank too
much diet Coke. One thing I need to talk about. Why is
everyone today so darn liberal? Does everyone jump into
bed on the almost first date? Why can’t they be good
girls like we were? Be more prudish like we were and
wait at least for a nice piece of jewelry?
Maven: Because we never got to date anyone like Josh
Blonde: I don’t care who the guy is… jewelry is
Maven: Well, some guys are all that and don’t need any
Blonde: Jewelry is jewelry! The rest is just bonus.
Maven: I have to mention the one scene in the restaurant
when Matthew meets his friend’s girlfriend. So much
takes place with very few words said that kudos goes to
Rose Bryne who plays Alex (Troy) and Josh Hartnett, who
acted the hell out of those few words. Mathew Lillard,
who plays the best friend Luke, does a great job as an
innocent throughout the movie, unlike his previous roles
as a buffoon in movies like Scooby Doo.
Blonde: Hey, I liked Scooby Doo! Oh, was that the
scene when you woke me up to tell me I was snoring?
Maven: That’s the one!
Blonde: Yeah, I agree; here’s where it started to pull
together and finally get interesting. I felt this movie
was very hard to follow with the past, present, and
flashbacks all gelling together. I warn you moviegoers,
if you pay attention and have patience, it does get to
the point that you will enjoy this film. If you have all
Maven: So are you happy now that I ran after you and
made you stay for the ending?
Blonde: No! I missed my pedicure… But at least I have a
Maven: Wicker Park works because all of the actors
invest their scenes with emotional realism. I rate this
film a solid B.
Blonde: Too much realism for my mind…This was one
of the few times an ending to a movie saves the film. I
rate it a C+ and advise some No-doz pills
and a large cup of Starbucks espresso. They also have a
great chocolate-chip cookie and espresso brownie… You'll
need it to pay attention to this film….
Maven: Wicker Park reminded me that I have a gift
certificate to Pier One. They have great wicker
furniture. Let’s go shopping!
Blonde: I’m there! I hope our shopping gets to the
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