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 September 28, 2016
Definitely not your usual costume drama. And what costumes they were. A mix of contemporary haute couture to a twist on period 1860's+. The men and the women looked fantastic. This movie was a feast on a huge gluttonous groaning board. Transfixed I couldn't get up and had to call for the feather and bucket and feast some more. At times I shook my head....is this a ballet is this a movie is this theatre of the absurd? I was immersed in it despite it's being a bit twee and over the top. I got it, I'm in the business and appreciated what it was doing and was happily along for the surealistic ride. At one point K.Knightly's strings of saliva were a queezy distraction and I found myself swallowing overly much. But that is my pecadillo, moist mouths with too much spittle (shudder). But I dwell too much upon the surface. Her passionate dilemma, his complacency well played engendering sympathy. I supposed her attraction to the very young "dashing" Count. Though as a foil he appeared immature.
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 February 25, 2017
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 May 28, 2016
It was a beautifully shot film....story is great, of course....but I could have done without the "artsy" theatrical style that's solely used as a device rather than helping the story to move forward. I found it pretty distracting; I found it difficult to stay connected and related to the characters--it's almost as if it couldn't decide whether it was a film or a theatre piece.
I still think it's a good film. But, would I tell friends they have to run out and see it? Not really.