Written April 30, 2017
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 February 23, 2017
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 March 26, 2017
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.
Written September 27, 2016
Turn back! Run away! Go see a hobit or a british special agent or a vampire. Do not waste any money on this film. I don't think I am "enlightened" enough to appreciate a movie, within a play, within a musical, within a nightmare, but this story is nothing like what we expected. This is a tremendous novel; why they chose to make it a film in this way is baffling. It confuses everyrhing about the novel and only distracts from what could have been an outstanding cast. If it is not the random tuba player that interjects himself into the scene, it is the blindingly stupid scenes involving ink stamping and coat changes. I do love movies and pride myself on the fact that I must stay to watch a film unitl its' end no matter how bad (although Punch Drunk Love was the exception) but AK certainily tested my will. Good Luck if you choose to drop the $10+. Remember, you were forwarned.
Written July 24, 2016
Really difficult to sit through. Plodding and wandering. Took awhile to figure out the supporting characters. Keira Knightly is lovely to look at but there is no chemistry or passion or anything to grab onto with her lover. The story is so convoluted that I was tempted to walk out after 30 min., but i stuck it out.