Joe Wright knows how to make a classic novel into an onscreen sensation. In his latest flick, “Anna Karenina”, based on the novel by Leo Tolstoy, he does just that but with a twist. The movie is filmed in such a way that it is as if the viewer is in the audience at the theater and watching a play unfold before their eyes.
Set in the 19th century Russia, “Anna Karenina” begins with Anna (Keira Knightley) reading a letter from her brother, Moscow aristocrat, Stiva Oblonsky (Matthew Macfadyen) begging her to travel to Moscow to help save his marriage to wife Dolly (Kelly Macdonald). Anna leaves St. Petersburg and her husband and son and boards a train to Moscow. She happens to befriend Countess Vronsky (Olivia Williams) on the train and ends up meeting her son, Vronsky (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) upon arrival in Moscow. It takes little time for the affair between these two socialites to begin and the viewer is taken on a passion filled ride
The story of lust and love is mixed in with another story of heartbreak. Country boy and farmer, Levin (Domhnall Gleeson), proposes to Dolly’s younger sister, Kitty (Alicia Vikander), early on in the film. She declines as she has her eye on Vronsky, but once it is evident he has a thing for Anna she gives up on any chance at love. Ultimately, Levin leaves his farming behind and returns to Moscow where he and Kitty are reunited and their faith in love is restored. They end up as the only happy couple in the story as Anna’s life unravels before her eyes, In the end she loses all she has ever known in her male run world and we round out the film back on stage right where we began.
The Verdict: This is not your typical chick flick, light hearted movie, but rather a unique adaptation of a mature novel. If you love a classic love story with a side of heartache then “Anna Karenina” is for you. The costumes and jewelry were simply magnificent and Keira Knightly was just as fabulous as always.
Opened: November 16th, 2012
Director: Joe Wright
Cast: Domhnall Gleeson, Keira Knightley, Jude Law, Kelly Macdonald, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Matthew Macfadyen, Alicia Vikander, Olivia Williams, Ruth Wilson