“Anna Karenina”

A funny thing happened on the way to the movies: a PRI (Public Radio International) interview with Keira Knightley about “Anna Karenina.” Knightley explained that  director Joe Wright chose to make the film more like live theatre with a large stage production in which scenes and costume changing unfolded before the viewers’ eyes. There were very few outdoor scenes, but those may not have been real either – the train scenes certainly weren’t. The costuming was exquisite; the manses and ballroom scenes were ornate. The music score by Dario Marianelli was magnificent. However, back to the story…

Leo Tolstoy’s novel is about 1870’s Russian aristocracy and society, acceptable and unacceptable affairs, good and bad outcomes. Anna Karenina (Knightley) is the wife of  boring, inattentative Alexis Karenin (Jude Law) who prizes his work and position more than her. So, of course, she needs something more and lets herself be seduced by Count Vronsky (Aaron Taylor-Johnson). At stake are her reputation, her son, and her marriage, but she cannot give up her first and only lover and has a child by him. She is ostracized, of course, by her former high society friends; her only allies being her brother Oblonsky (very likeable David Matthew MacFadyen), a philanderer, and his heart-torn wife Dolly (Kelly Macdonald), a prolific mother.

There is a subplot with one of Oblonsky’s friends, Levin (Domhnall Gleeson), who loves a young princess, Kitty (Alicia Vikander), who has her heart set on Vronsky, who only has eyes for Anna…

While Tolstoy’s book may be a literary masterpiece, the true-to-the-storyline movie is merely interesting and adequately conveyed to the screen. Although my husband liked it a lot, I found myself distracted by being privy to the scene and costume changes, which were sometimes amusing, intentionally or not. If any Oscar is awarded to this film, it should be for Marianelli’s music.

anna karenina

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars.


About Cyranette

I have been writing since I was 11 and am now a grandmother of 9. Aside from my family, I love writing, reading, movies, gardening, genealogy, and travel. I met my soulmate online and we've been married 19 years. I am a survivor of rape, abuse, and cancer. I believe in love, kindness, and common sense. I was born/raised in Indiana and have lived in Massachusetts, Texas, and California. I have visited: most of the United States, British Columbia, Germany, Austria, and Costa Rica. My husband and I would like to visit England, Europe, and New Zealand and to take a train ride along the Canadian/American border. I have written essays, articles, short stories, a romance novel, a self-help book, and several children's books.
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4 Responses to “Anna Karenina”

  1. jenniesisler says:

    Interesting that they would consider it like a stage play — I can’t imagine ever having gone to a play where you were privy to the costume changes. Even scenery changes in most theater performances I’ve seen are done in near darkness so as to not ruin the effect of watching the story unfold. I love tragic romance and it doesn’t get much more tragic than this story. I remember watching a tv movie version years ago with Christopher Reeve playing Vronsky. Such a sad story – I’m disappointed to hear the movie didn’t live up to the story’s sweeping nature.


    • Cyranette says:

      I know, Jenni. Usually theater actors go off-set to change and scenery evolves between acts…As for tragic romance, it ticks me off. No one is worth dying for; suicide is the ultimate selfish act.


  2. CMrok93 says:

    Good review. Started off so perfectly with a quick and beautiful pace, but then just loses itself by the end and gets way, way too boring and slow for my taste. At least the performances held my interest, but even then, the characters were a bit too unlikable to really give a hoot about.


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