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USA: Focus Features
UK: UIP (UK)
Cast: Reese Witherspoon, Eileen Atkins, Jim Broadbent, Gabriel Byrne, Romola Garai, Bob Hoskins, Rhys Ifans, Geraldine McEwan, James Purefoy, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Roger Lloyd Pack, Ruth Sheen, Kate Fleetwood, Lillette Dubey, Tony Maudsley, Deborah Findlay, John Franklyn-Robbins, Paul Bazely, Charlie Beall, David Sterne, Douglas Hodge, Meg Wynn Owen, Tim Preece, Natasha Little, Helen Coker, Tim Seely, Sophie Hunter, Paul Bentall, Sean McKenzie, Kathryn Drysdale, John Woodvine, Barbara Leigh-Hunt, Nicholas Jones, Sian Thomas, Trevor Cooper, Brian Pettifer, Steven Elder, Gabrielle Lloyd, Niall O'Brien, Tom Beard, Kelly Hunter, Camilla Rutherford, Alexandra Staden, Richard McCabe, Virendra Saxena, Bruce Mackinnon, Andrew Price, Tom Sturridge, Chloe Treend, Amanda Courtney-Davies, Sarah Mogg, Suzanne Thomas, Sylvano Clarke
Director: Mira Nair
Countries: UK / USA
USA: 137 mins
UK: 141 mins
USA Rated: PG-13 for some sensuality/partial nudity and a brief violent image
UK Certificate: PG contains mild violence and battle images
USA Release Date: 1 September 2004
UK Release Date: 14 January 2005
Directed by Mira Nair this new film version of the classic novel by William Makepeace Thackeray stars Reese Witherspoon as the beautiful, funny passionate and calculating Rebecca (Becky) Sharp.
The daughter of a starving English artists and a French chorus girl, Becky is orphaned at a young age. Even as a child she yearns for a more glamorous life than her birthright promises. As she leaves Miss Pinkerton's Academy at Chiswick, Becky resolves to conquer English society by any means possible. She deploys all her wit, guile and sexuality as she makes her way up into high society during the first quarter of the 19th century.
Becky's ascension to the heights of society commences when she gains employment as governess to the daughters of eccentric Sir Pitt Crawley (Bob Hoskins). Becky wins over the children and the Crawley family's rich spinster aunt Matilda (Eileen Atkins) as well. The rural Hampshire household comes to find her indispensable and Matilda comes to confide in the bright young woman. But Becky knows that she cannot be a true part of English society until she moves to the city. When Matilda invites her to come and live in London Becky eagerly accepts. There Becky is reunited with her best friend Amelia Sedley (Romola Garai). Staying close to the family she already knows so well, Becky secretly marries dashing heir Rawdon Crawley (James Purejoy) but when Matilda finds out she casts the newlyweds out.
When Napoleon invades Europe, Rawdon bravely reports to the front lines as does Amelia's husband George Osborne. Now pregnant Becky comforts her newlywed, distraught friend Amelia. When George is killed in the Battle Of Waterloo, Becky's friendship with Amelia is stained beyond repair. Reunited with Rawdon, Becky gives birth to a boy but post-war, money and comforts are sparse for the trio.
More intent than ever on gaining acceptance into London society and living well, Becky finds a patron in the powerful Marquess of Steyne (Gabriel Byrne). Steyne's whims enable Becky to realise her dreams, but the ultimate cost may be too high even for her.