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Academy Award nominee Keira Knightley, Academy Award nominee Jude Law and Aaron Taylor-Johnson dazzle in this stunning new vision of Leo Tolstoy's epic love story. At the twilight of an empire, Anna Karenina (Knightley), the beautiful high-ranking wife of one of imperial Russia's most esteemed men (Law), has it all. But when she meets the dashing cavalry officer Vronsky (Taylor-Johnson), there is a mutual spark of instant attraction that cannot be ignored. She's immediately swept up in a passionate affair that will shock a nation and change the lives of everyone around her. From acclaimed director Joe Wright (Atonement, Pride & Prejudice) and Academy Award-winning writer Tom Stoppard (Shakespeare in Love) comes this visually enchanting masterpiece hailed by critics as "ecstatic" (Time), "rapturous" (MSN Movies) and "a spectacle that has to be seen to be believed!" (The Huffington Post)
By filming Leo Tolstoy's timeless novel as a series of theater pieces that play out across stages and catwalks, Joe Wright extracts Anna Karenina from the dusty pages of history. In her third collaboration with the filmmaker, Keira Knightley portrays the St. Petersburg aristocrat as a woman who loves her son, Sergei, more than her husband, Alexei Karenin (Jude Law). On a trip to Moscow, she meets Count Vronsky (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), whose Snidely Whiplash mustache spells trouble, even as his sky-blue eyes prove impossible to resist. Wright contrasts their passionate union with the less cataclysmic concerns of Anna's sister-in-law, Dolly (Boardwalk Empire's Kelly Macdonald), whose capacity for forgiveness puts Alexei to shame, and Levin (Harry Potter's Domhnall Gleeson), who never gives up on Dolly's sister, Kitty (Alicia Vikander), even after she rejects him in hopes of a more glamorous future. When the affair between Anna and Vronsky becomes public, Tolstoy's antiheroine risks losing everything, but as readers know: she just can't help herself. Though Shakespeare in Love screenwriter Tom Stoppard ties together a colorful galaxy of characters who orbit around the photogenic central couple, the secondary performers provide the more deeply grounded performances, particularly Law and Gleeson. And for all the stylized, Douglas Sirk-inspired melodrama, Knightley's Pride & Prejudice costar, Matthew Macfadyen, who plays Dolly's wayward husband, lightens the mood whenever he utters one of his clever quips. If it isn't completely successful, Wright's reinvention is frequently quite dazzling--much like the genuine Chanel diamonds that illuminate Knightley's porcelain complexion. --Kathleen C. Fennessy
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The director, Joe Wright, mentions the puppet theatre he grew up in and tried to create that atmosphere. I believe he succeeded in that sense with spectacular sets, costumes, and breathless transitions.If this film creates a curiosity in reading Tolstoy, that's an accomplishment in itself, although newbies may be disappointed by the traditional novel.
The plot also jumped around quite a bit without any explanation. I imagine that the unedited version of the film could be quite good, but is also probably about 8 hours long. This version is definitely for someone who has either read the novel or has seen the Vivien Leigh film version, but I can't imagine being able to follow anything if you have done neither. I spent most of the film explaining to my friend what was happening and what had happened (in the book) from one scene to the next so that it would make more sense to him.
I only gave it two stars. It felt like there were too many hands in the pot trying to make it something different all at once.
into detail describing Anna's voluptuousness, packed into ball dresses and furs, and cuddling her young son at her bosom. As an English
teacher who taught this novel semester after semester, I can't help but be sensitive to this detail. However, viewers untrained at being
nitpickers about portrayals of Tolstoy's work will surely enjoy this film adaptation.
Most recent customer reviews
Hot Toasty Rag, December 9, 2017
I’m not sure if anyone was more excited than I was to see the newest remake of Anna Karenina, besides the...Read more