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For those who have been weaned on more traditional cinematic treatments of the Tolstoy tale, this
new version may startle, annoy, thrill or elicit a combination of all of these. Joe Wright has liberated the story from the confines of opulent interiors and set it in a theater, with much of the action being literally "played out" on a stage. Yet, opulent costumes and jewelry are fabulously in view, underscoring the grandeur that was imperial Russia. Keira Knightley as Anna delivers a glamorous and complex performance; Jude Law is the very model of the bespectacled, stodgy, dutiful and cuckolded Karenin, right down to his tight lips and receding hairline. With his sculpted facial features, arresting blue eyes and almost flippant confidence, Aaron Johnson is note-perfect as Anna's lover Count Vronsky. Visually beautiful, stylish and stylized (and brave enough to reveal more of the Levin character), "Anna" is a must-see. Long, but never dull.
Despite some dramatic weaknesses, this small and touching film - the sort that the French manage to
carry out so well - left this reviewer with a warm feeling after seeing it. Both Gérard Depardieu, as a rough-around-the-edges blue-collar worker and Gisèle Casadesus, the 95-year-old "dame" whom he befriends, bring their distinctive touches to their roles. Depardieu's galumphing gruffness is counterbalanced by Ms. Casadesus' spun-glass fragility.
Chasz (Depardieu) has been deeply hurt by life, in the person of an unloving and unloveable virago of a mother, but is nonetheless capable of deep love, such as for his much younger and beautiful Annette. Marguéritte has had a lifelong and deep love with the written word, and it is this which joins these two very different yet similar human beings. Tighter directing might have helped the occasional sagging narrative, and there are moments of unnecessary overacting. Some profanity and sex, so not kid-appropriate.
Toy Story 3
The Pursuit of Happyness
Anna Karenina (2012)
My Afternoons with Margueritte
Notes on a Scandal
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