Friday, January 21, 2005

Vanity Fair

There hasn't been much hype about this movie at all. Not surprising though. Period movies like these, eg. Emma, Sense and Sensibility, only appeals to a select group of people; usually of the feminine persuasion. No blood and gore or super fancy action stunt in the trailer (which usually shows all the good bits for those movies) to pull in the macho men. Instead, it's a movie with a lot of talking. It's a 'talkie'.

Hmmm ... did I like the movie?

Well, it is not very memorable. Unlike what I felt after watching Patricia Rozema's version of Mansfield's Park, like I had to run out and get another ticket to re-watch it, this one left me with nothing.

It was a nice movie. A tad draggy and yet I felt that some scenes or rather some period of Becky Sharp's life was somehow too compressed and not fully explored. Especially her encounter with the collector of her father's works, The Marquess of Steyne. It seems quite out of character that she was so easily outplayed by the Marquess after she had so skillfully manipulated everyone else up to that point. How is it that the Marquess have the power to intimidate her? Sure, he bailed her out of debt but that somehow, doesn't seem a strong enough reason, at least to me, for somebody who has relied on her strength and cunning to get as far as she has, to suddenly feel so inferior/weak next to him.

Also, the main plot of the movie, her need to better her lot in life, to be up there with the best of the aristos. What is her driving force? I do not see it. What has given her such determination? I have read enough drivel to understand that there is always someone from the lower class who has the determination to better themselves but usually, there is always a reason or an event which have promted them to action. I could not see this in Becky and I think this weakens the whole plot and the appeal of the movie for me. The 'but why'? But why is she doing this? But why does she want that? Why? Why? Why?

So ...

I did not like the pacing.
There are too many holes in the story.
Too many things unexplained.
The series of events and emotions did not flow smoothly enough.

... It was nice. Not good.

Would I go out and look for a copy of it? Probably ... I'm a sucker for period movies. Love the costumes and the protocols and such. When women were women and men were men ... at least, it is; for the upper class and the weathy merchants.

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