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USA 2004
Directed by
Mira Nair
137 minutes
Rated PG

Reviewed by
Luke Jackson
1.5 stars

Vanity Fair

The most successful adaptations of William Makepeace Thackeray's classic novel Vanity Fair have traditionally been for the small screen. With a mini-series running for between four and six hours, a truly carnival-like atmosphere - the 'fair' referred to in the story's title - can be fully realised, minor characters making notable appearances, fading away for a while, then reappearing with a flourish. The greatest challenge for any director of a film adaptation, therefore, seems to be understanding which characters and events may be omitted without lessening the story's entertainment value or dramatic impact. With a screenplay by the writer of Gosford Park, directed by Mira Nair of Monsoon Wedding fame, and starring Reese Witherspoon, Bob Hoskins and Gabrielle Byrne amongst others, this newest adaptation should be exceptional. Instead, it's completely dissatisfying. LJ

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