Written September 30, 2016
Settle in for this groundbreaking extravaganza, which captures almost a thousand pages of Russian epic in about 2 1/2 hours. The costumes alone are enough to keep you enthralled. Amazingly, the bold conceit of depicting the story in a theater, onstage and backstage, a literal metaphor for the glories and constraints of life in 19th century Moscow and St. Petersburg, is in itself thrilling -- besides, as the story swoops from scene to scene like some mad waltz, from time to time, a door opens and we find ourselves confronted with the breathtaking literal vastness of the Russian countryside. You never know where you'll find yourself next. Meanwhile, a ravishing Keira Knightly appears in gown after fabulous gown, each a rich solid color reflecting her current passionate emotion. Her face, often shot in extreme closeup, registers her every thought. Surrender to this movie, and its images will stay with you for a long, long time.
Written August 30, 2016
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.
Written September 26, 2016
Overall, I enjoyed the movie, although at times the stylization reminded me of Moulin Rouge (which is one movie I truly dislike), but the costumes and acting were so well-done that I was able to enjoy the film and the story. My friend was in tears at the end (I am not so emotional as she) and she thoroughly enjoyed it.
I love the quote from the Countess in the early part of the film: "I'd rather say I wish I hadn't than I wish I had." (Which is ironic by the end of the story.)
Written July 26, 2016
It's a crying shame when what is basically a lovely movie, with some of the most gorgeous cinematography and art direction is years, is soured by a horribly-miscast leading role. I refer to Aaron Taylor-Johnson's effeminate and creepy Count Vronsky...looking like the blonde twin of the Colorado Mass Shooter. How on earth can we believe that this creep was the cause of Anna's downfall? The movie started beautifully with the opera-house concept then quickly took a nosedive the moment that Vronsky appears. Additionally, I did not care for some of the odd choreography and wavy hand movements by ballroom dancers in the background -- were they trying to dance the hula? Most distracting. But the worst thing was Taylor-Johnson as Count Vronsky. His looks and manner just 'kill' the story.
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.