But sometimes love isn’t enough. William Makepeace Thackery set his classic novel
VANITY FAIR in the first half of the 19th Century, a world in which women had very limited options.
Director Mira Nair takes many liberties with the original in her new adaptation of this literary classic, but she does it for the best of motives. Part of her point is clearly to show that despite all our new opportunities, the end of love is always painful.
In Nair’s version, Becky Sharp (Reese Witherspoon) and Rawdon Crawley (James Purefoy) really do love each other. But they are two rogues with limited financial resources living solely on their wits, and at a certain point, their luck runs out. As Rawdon’s gambling debts grow so do Becky’s nightmares, until she finds a savior who, of course, exacts a very high price.
is a sumptuous period melodrama, filled with lush costumes, music, and sets. But after breaking your heart, Nair ends her version with a wink. Like Scarlett O’Hara in
GONE WITH THE WIND, Becky Sharp is indomitable.
Photo Credit: Frank Connor/Focus Features
ITALIAN FOR BEGINNERS has a slow build. Director/Screenwriter Lone Scherfig takes her time introducing a large cast of characters and moving them into position. But when the dominos all fall in the delightfully quirky, upbeat finale, you’ll be glad you’re there to watch.
Scherfig’s characters are ordinary people living in a small Danish town. A bakery clerk, a hairdresser, a waitress, a hotel manager, a bartender, they’re all good-hearted people beset by typical problems. But being Danish, they’re also reserved and somewhat shy. One by one, they begin to congregate in an Italian language class at the local community center, and slowly but surely the sensuous vowels take hold. By the time they take their big class trip to sun-filled Venice, the gloom is gone.
Photo Credit: Miramax Films
Whether married or single, widowed or divorced, most women still agree that “love makes the world go ‘round.” Love may not always last, but when you’re in love, there’s nothing like it!
© Jan Lisa Huttner (1/1/05)
This article was originally published
in the January/February 2005 edition of
is posted here with their permission.
For more, read Jan’s interview with VANITY FAIR’s director MIRA NAIR