Posted: 09/24/2004 in books, films
Tags: , , , ,

I have just got back from an awful shift, flopped on the sofa in front of People’s Court and gulped down an ice cold glass of chocolate soy milk. I wont rant about my day instead, I shall focus my aggression on the movie version of Vanity Fair that I saw earlier this week.

Oh my, what a disappointment. I know you can’t compare a 912 page novel or a six hour miniseries to a two hour twenty minute film. But, there was no need to bastardise it and spin it into dull and dumber version. The characters that they chose to include, as there are some notably exceptions and truncations (Jos Sedley and the moral watchdog to name but two), are all wrong and in some cases positively bipolar in their actions. Becky, is neither a vixen nor a brain (in fact she has no bite since they removed her teeth for a PG rating). I am assuming they gave her a social conscience and played down her disinterest in her son in an attempt to modernise the gal. But, by doing so the plot jerks and jumps about leaving the viewer confused. Becky Sharp is a controversial character, she maneuvers about society like a man and is not a victim. Her childhood friend, Amelia Sedley was given a dose of girl power. So, she becomes an assertive lass, when she is meant to be the passive and proper, to mirror Ms Sharp. Amelia’s beau, who later becomes her husband, George Osbourne was wonderfully played by Jonathan Rhys-Meyers but he took it too far. An obnoxious, bounder he may be, but he still has to have a touch of humanity otherwise why would he marry his childhood sweetheart, who’s family is now bankrupt? Becky’s husband, Rawdon, should be dim but devoted. So when he finally sees the true nature of his wife it is all the more devastating, but by smartening him up the pivotal scene plays flat. I can’t even bring myself to tell you what they did to Dobbin.

There were only two characters that i like: George Jnr, throughly obnoxious just like his dad and Lady Jane Sheepshanks, who stole every scene she was in. A surprising choice in casting, as Natasha Little played a very spirited and alluring Ms Sharp on the BBC miniseries. Now, I have to confess that I left five minutes before the end and I was the only person in the cinema. I nearly left twice before then (once when Becky cried non-crocodile tears and then when she helped Amelia in France) but what finally pushed me over the edge – David Archer as the German Casino owner!!!!!! So wrong, surely Ruth and cattle are missing him?

So that is the film that I don’t recommend, here are some that I do:

Bright Young Things – Loved it. Love Stephen Fry. Love the cast. Love Evelyn Waugh. Love the era.

Wimbledon – Don’t let the primary billing of Kirsten Dunst fool you, this is the gorgeous Paul Bettany’s film. The plot is silly, but dialogue is as smashing as the tennis.

Garden State – Directional debut for Zach Braff (plus he wrote it and stars along side Natalie Portman), it is edgy, uncomfortable, but funny and therefore brilliant.

I feel much better now, i think I can turn off People’s Court and turn my attentions to ‘Application of supply and demand analysis’ – yummy!

  1. Daisy says:

    There’s nothing much on at our local cinema and I’d ignored Wimbledon – thanks for the recommendation, if we get the long overdue chance to get an evening out this weekend, that’s where we’ll go.

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