Critical Condition: Vanity Fair

Vanity Fair | TVNZ 1, 8.30 Sunday & Monday

➢➢ “Does the world need another adaptation of Vanity Fair? On the strength of this start to ITV’s new series, the answer would have to be yes. It feels as energetic and sparkly as a social climber’s zeal … This seven-part series has been made with Amazon money, and it looks and feels wildly expensive – CGI London, including the great hedonistic spectacle of the Vauxhall party, is a treat, and it’s almost worth tuning in for the set designers’ selection of sumptuous wallpaper alone.” — The Guardian.

➢➢ “The team have breathed a new lease of live into the centuries old Thackery novel, and have made it at a point in time that makes it just as relevant as it was in 1848. Olivia Cooke shines as the feisty and driven Becky Sharp – a teaching assistant at an all-girls school who is refusing to let her poor start in life stop her striving for a better place in society.” — Metro.

➢➢ “The titles exemplified how non-committal Vanity Fair felt in its modernisation. The costumes and staging were traditional to the genre, but the muted palette, and the reliance on lens flares and overexposure, made it look as if the whole show’s been put through an Instagram filter … Perhaps it’s impossible now to give Vanity Fair a worthy adaptation, but ITV’s attempt could at least do with sharpening its claws, if only to see how brilliantly flawed and utterly fascinating a character Becky Sharp has always been.” — The Independent.

➢➢ “The sets were lovely, the Regency clothes convincing and the romantic juveniles better looking than nature on average supplies. What more could be wanted for a Sunday night costume classic than Vanity Fair (ITV) reconstructed by Gwyneth Hughes into an easy-to-follow tale of the orphan Becky Sharp (Olivia Cooke), on the make and angry with the world?” — The Telegraph.

➢➢ “The writer Gwyneth Hughes’s intention was apparently to bring a contemporary, gossipy feel to William Makepeace Thackeray’s novel for the Love Island generation. And what sums up Love Island better than the narrator Michael Palin’s précis of Vanity Fair society as a false world where ‘everyone is striving for what is not worth having’? It could almost be a Love Island slogan.” — The Times.

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