Anna Karenina (Movie, 2012)
Drama | Historical | Romance
Lead Cast: Keira Knightly (Anna Karenina), Jude Law (Karenin), Matthew Macfadyen (Oblonsky), Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Count Vronsky), & others
Synopsis: “Anna Karenina (Keira Knightley), the wife of a Russian imperial minister (Jude Law), creates a high-society scandal by an affair with Count Vronsky (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), a dashing cavalry officer in 19th-century St. Petersburg. Anna’s husband, Alexei, offers her a difficult choice: Go into exile with Vronsky but never see her young son again, or remain with her family and abide by the rules of discretion. Meanwhile, a farmer named Levin pines for Princess Kitty, who only has eyes for Vronsky.” –Google
Essentially this book is a tangled web indeed of affairs, flirtations, romances, and high society. Drama at its height.
pooled ink Review:
The story itself had me dulled (sorry Tolstoy) as I personally don’t care much for watching (or reading) about a mere web of lies and trysts, but of course this was popular for the time in which the book was written. Aristocratic love triangles filled with tantalizing and scandalous obstacles were all the rage. Meh.
I will say that what captivated me and what I feel was a purely brilliant move was the director’s choice to direct the movie as a stage play keeping it very theatrical in set to match the theatricality of the plot. Having characters appear on stage in solitary asides, including moments of choreography to heighten the sense of emotion and surrealism, having the characters storm out of one room to appear instantly in a completely different place as the backdrops change and the set pieces slide away, the bold colors, the syncing of emotion to score to actors balancing on an edge between “over done” and “everyday”…it all interestingly conveyed (and added to) the heightened realism of the plot. A cross between a pop-up book and a stage production Anna Karenina is a genius movie that managed to keep even bah humbug me enraptured in its threads.
The costumes are phenomenal, the direction was on point, and the actors were spectacular able to develop their characters bringing forth their truest attribute to the surface, adding to the theatricality when the scene called for it and subduing their selves into a more subtle and complex human in the more real moments in their lives.
Definitely give this film a watch, whether you like old Russian stories and Tolstoy or not, and even if you couldn’t care less about anything in the plot then I’d still urge you to give it a chance if only to witness great art and film. Keep an eye out for the technical choices if the plot doesn’t carry you because it’s just as interesting and quite mesmerizing.
P.S. I’m giving this film 4 stars, which I know to many will seem rather high, but while yes in some ways the plot was lacking in interest that is a personal opinion and I cannot judge the accuracy of its book-to-film adaptation for the book Anna Karenina (1877, Leo Tolstoy) remains on my TBR list at the present time. I am giving this film 4 stars because of the work and technical genius that went into it. Honestly, sometimes we forget all the production work put into films and while obviously the final product is the most important thing I feel it unfair to write off all of the techies that slaved over this project working day and night to make something they are proud of. Their labor and pride come through even if the story does not quite. And more importantly I am giving this film 4 stars because I feel like it.
Anna Karenina (movie) (Amazon.com with pooled ink)
Anna Karenina (book) (Amazon.com with pooled ink)