Written December 04, 2012
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 November 25, 2012
I liked some of the acting, and the dialog was very good. But the surrealism I found distracting to the story. The music, costumes and cinematography were phenomenal, though.
Written November 25, 2012
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 September 01, 2014
Movie is very artsy changing between the stage and reality. That proves a bit confusing at first. It is beautifully filmed, but the chemistry between Anna and the Count is flat. Jude Law is excellent as the long suffering husband.
Written August 23, 2014
And Anna Karenina makes good use of that concept. An very beautiful, poetic, and supple rendering of a massive novel. My one qualm is that Knightley, although gorgeous and the stuff that dreams are made of, is perhaps a bit too frosty to be convincing as anything other than headstrong; she conveys stuborness more than hopeless love.
Jude Law is wonderful as the man who gives every opportunity for redemption, although it is hard to believe that Jude Law is the least sexy man in the room.
The music is just right; not intrusive, and not tear-jerking.
All in all this is one of the most mature, well developed films I have seen in a while.