"Anna Karenina" (2012) Movie Review
“Anna Karenina,” the 13th film version of the novel by Leo Tolstoy, is a visual delight that is painstakingly handled by director Joe Wright. The timeless tale is aided by a movable set that conforms to a particular scene’s demands.
Because the current adaptation looks at different angles of love and relationships, it is fitting that the set corresponds to the various intersections examined. The result is a period piece with contemporary flair that investigates the many faces of love.
Keira Knightley returns to the loving arms of her “Pride and Prejudice” and “Atonement” director to breathe life into one of the most famous literary heroines. Knightley brilliantly plays the title role of a woman torn between passion and responsibility.
Set during the late 19th century tsarist Russia, Anna Karenina (Knightley) is a vibrant and beautiful woman who is married to Karenin (Jude Law), a high-ranking government official to whom she has borne a son.
Complications arise when Anna meets Vronsky (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), a dashing cavalry officer. The two characters have incredible chemistry that cannot, and will not, be ignored.
The script by Academy Award-winning screenwriter, Tom Stoppard (“Shakespeare in Love”), stays true to the spirit of the beloved book. From the love for Russia to romantic love, the many incarnations of love is explored.
One of my favorite moments in the film happened during a dinner scene where one of the guests asked “Will you die for love?” It’s a question that mirrors the theme of the book – the human heart’s extraordinary capacity to love.
I’ve always felt that Law is a fantastic character actor and it’s a pleasure to see him in a subdued and quite role like Karenin. Matthew Macfadyen as Anna’s sister, Oblonsky, brings in the necessary laughter. His performance pulls you right in from the very start of the film.
Domhnall Gleeson as Oblonky’s best friend, Levin, is also a delight. We all know the actor as Bill Weasley in the “Harry Potter” series, but we did not know him to be a gifted thespian.
Gleeson’s Levin is an important aspect in this new adaptation. His character has been all but forgotten in the past adaptations, but in order to contrast Anna’s wild passions, you need to show Levin’s true and unbridled love. If Anna’s story is dark, then Levin’s contrasting tale is pure and unadulterated.
The production design deserves an Oscar nomination. It is less of a gimmick and more of a fluid part of the story. The set becomes a character in the movie.
In the end, is Anna Karenina a heroine or an anti-heroine? The movie does not give you an easy answer. When it comes to the mystery of the human heart, we are all guilty of falling into the tricky spell of rampant passion.
Country: United States
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