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November 8, 2016
When Vanity Fair came up on my viewing list, I didn’t look forward to seeing it because a mini-series from the BBC can be ponderous and boring. What a surprise! This exceptional film captured me in the first scene and didn’t let me go until five hours later. The story is based on the classic novel by Thackeray and presents the scenes and characters in a manor that is dramatic but often with a hint of humor running in the background. The characters are memorable and distinctly portrayed by incredibly talented actors. Becky Sharp in the novel was pursued by many for her charms and beauty, and Natasha Little, as Becky in the film, is the perfect Becky Sharp—amazingly beautiful and playing the role of the devious, ambitious trollop with a sly, knowing grin. A unique feature of this film is the brilliant use of extreme closeups. In the battle scene, for instance, the viewer hears the sound of the battle but sees only the facial features of the soldiers. The light humor in the film is punctuated throughout with an unusual brass band soundtrack. I can’t say enough about this film. If it were an American feature film, it would have been showered with Oscars. It is definitely Must see viewing, particularly if you are interested in dramatic portrayals of classic novels—or not.