Thackeray’s novel also ends on a very different note.  After Rowden’s death, Becky’s paramour dies under mysterious circumstances, leaving her a wealthy widow.  In this version, however, Becky marries Amelia’s brother Jos (Tony Maudsley), the man she may have loved all along, in an exotic Indian wedding. That theme, of the sultry, beckoning India, is played up dramatically in Nair’s version (she is Indian), and it not only adds dimension but diversifies the already stunning display of costumes and scenery.  Declan Quinn’s cinematography is also outstanding.

Even though Becky had been defanged, the film still has its merits. All the actors, who are mostly British, do a fabulous job, and Witherspoon holds her own.  Too bad, though.  I would have liked to have seen her in a role more faithful to Thackeray’s Becky, because I think she could have pulled it off.  But this one will certainly do.  We’re offered a glimpse into the 19th century world of haves, have nots and wannabes.  It also offers a host of things to ponder.  After all, just how different from Becky can we be when we long to be just like our modern-day aristocrats, the Hollywood elite?

Trying to condense a 900-word novel into a film is no easy task, and while it drags at times, Nair’s effort is a good one.  It’s no Cliff Notes, but it’s certainly worth a look-see for adults and mature teens and is sure to entertain.

OBJECTIONABLE CONTENT

  • Drugs/Alcohol Content:   Wine/wineglasses in multiple scenes and at formal dinners.
  • Language/Profanity:  None.  Vague references to sexual situations.
  • Sexual Content/Nudity:  One shot of nude breasts, seen from a distance; one shot of rear female nudity; brief kissing; multiple scenes with female cleavage; husband and wife shown in bed, partially clothed, frolicking; belly dancing scene with multiple midriff-baring dancers.
  • Violence:  Soldiers marching into battle/returning home from battle; references to soldiers who died in battle; one gruesome shot of body-strewn battlefield, including bloody, mangled bodies; men argue, fight; woman fends off sexual advances of aggressive man.