Vanity Fair (2005)
A film based on the novel by William M. Thackeray
directed by Mira Nair, starring Reese Witherspoon; Romola Garai; Eileen Atkins, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Gabriel Byrne Jim Broadbent
England, the early 1800s. On leaving school, Becky Sharp (Reese Witherspoon) goes to stay with her friend Amelia Sedley (Romola Garai). Becky is an orphan with no family, no house and no money, while Amelia is the daughter of a wealthy businessman. Amelia hopes Becky will marry her brother Jos (Tony Maudsley), an officer stationed in India; but her fiance George Osborne (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) is totally against this marriage. He tells Jos he will not marry Amelia if he proposes to Becky. Jos returns to his military post in India.
Becky becomes a governess with the Crawley family. Miss Matilda Crawley (Eileen Atkins), Sir Pitt Crawley’s sister, visits the family from London and is favourably impressed by Becky. She employs Becky as her companion and the two leave together for London.
Becky secretly marries Miss Matilda Crawley’s nephew, Rawdon (James Purefoy). When the old lady discovers the marriage, she disowns the couple. Becky and Rawdon have no money but are determined to keep a high standard of living. Rawdon swindles people out of money by gambling, while Becky keeps the creditors at bay.
George’s father, Mr. Osborne (Jim Broadbent), ruins Amelia’s father. The Sedleys sell their estate. At the auction WillianHEtebbhi (Rhyslfans) secretly buys Amelia’^piano. George is half¬hearted about marrying Amelia, but he does it to spite his father who wants him to marry a lady.
Rawdon, George and Dobbin go and fight in the Napoleonic wars; Becky and Amelia follow them to the continent. The night before a battle they attend a ball and volatile George flirts with Becky. George is killed in the battle. Dobbin gives the news to Amelia, who is devastated. She lavishes all her affection on her baby son and struggles to raise him. Dobbin, who is in love with Amelia, sends her the piano, but the woman lives in the memory of her dead husband and spurns his advances. Dobbin takes a commission in India.
Rawdon returns to London, where Becky lives with their son, Rawdy. The couple, who are heavily in debt, rely on the patronage of the saturnine Marquess of Steyne (Gabriel Byrne). Miss Matilda Crawley dies and leaves all her money to Rawdon’s brother. Amelia gives up her son to be raised by his grandfather, Mr. Osborne.
Becky moves in fashionable social circles under the Marquess of Steyne’s dubious protection. Still gambling, Rawdon is thrown into debtors’ prison. On his release he discovers a cheque from the Marquess that Becky has concealed from him and accuses them of having an affair. The Marquess arranges a post on a faraway island for Rawdon who, before leaving, places his son in the custody of his brother. Later Rawdon dies of tropical fever.
Twelve years later. Becky is working as a hostess at a casino in Germany. Dobbin, Jos, Amelia and her son go on a trip to the continent and visit the town where Becky lives. The woman meets Amelia’s son at the tables and recognizes him. Against the wishes of Dobbin, Amelia meets Becky who shows her the note that George gave her at the ball, the night before his death. In the note George asked Becky to run away with him. Stricken by her husband’s infidelity, Amelia accepts Becky’s suggestion and marries Dobbin. Becky marries Jos and goes to India with him.
Edited by Mariolina R. Capuano