Written July 30, 2016
I was disappointed by this film. Visually it is quite compelling, but the conceit of presenting scenes as though being staged becomes distracting and diminishes the film's content. The novel is a deep and weighty book that treats deep and weighty subjects. In the film, they become superficial, lost in all the pretty pictures. It is all frosting and no cake.
Written August 30, 2016
If you want to see a ridiculous movie that thinks it's a play go to see this. We walked out after 15 minutes. It's like they are trying to win a cinematolgraphy award with no substance. If I wanted to see live theater I would go to a play not a movie. Worst movie of the year.
Written August 24, 2016
The big surprise: from the opening curtain – and there is literally an opening curtain – most of this story in enacted inside a theater, where hand painted scenery is pushed around, curtains are raised and lowered, and chandeliers drop from the ceiling just in time for the fancy drawing room scene. There are dancers, chorus lines, and quick-change artists who tear off their government uniforms to reveal they are waiters (!) and proceed to serve dinner. The action – horse races, sleigh rides, big dance numbers, and our lead characters' adultery – are enacted on a theatrical stage in the phoniest, most clumsily contrived manner possible. About 3/4 of this film seems to have no other purpose than to ridicule Tolstoy. Jude Law is strangely out of place because out of the entire cast he somehow manages to act, competently and with real dignity.
Written September 28, 2016
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.
Written July 29, 2016
This movie was so ridiculously awful that is was almost comical. We would have walked out if we didn’t have to make everyone in our row get up.