Sunday, September 05, 2004

Vanity Fair 

The Girl is away on a Labor Day Weekend golf trip, and I had a free movie pass, so in honor of the Venice Film Festival and today's screening of Vanity Fair, I decided to take myself out to the show. Not in Venice, but hey. Woburn is nice, too. I figured this isn't one The Girl would want to see, since it's set in the early 1800's and she's not big on the period pieces.

It was okay. The filming was lovely, the costumes divine, the acting marvelous. But I just couldn't seem to get a grip on the main characters. They were either one-dimensional or not fully explained, particularly in the timeframe transitions. Too much was left out. Perhaps the film originally clocked in at 4 hours and they had to trim out the secondary character development to bring it down to 2.5 hours. Reese Witherspoon was excellent, but it was as if the character were all surface and no depth. Or the depth was there, but I just never got a sense of what lay at the bottom.

I wanted to like the character, but I couldn't fully embrace her. At times she seemed just full of fire and life, strong and ready to take on the world despite the limits placed on her by the times and the strictures of British society. At other times she was desperate and grasping, but then she'd do something that would put her squarely in the caring, compassionate and altruistic.

There were lots of good moments, though, particularly during her friendship with Aunt Tilly. I'll hold on to those, and count the days until 9/17, when Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow hits the theaters. In the meantime, check out Vanity Fair if you're a Reese Witherspoon fan or you enjoy stories of early 19th century British society. But consider a matinee rather than full price.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 10:29 PM