Flash Movie Review: Anna Karenina

My father’s side of the family traces itself back to Russia. I remember my parents had an old shoebox filled with thick postcard sized photographs of my father’s relatives. All of the pictures were sepia toned, showing somber relatives dressed in heavy clothing. I would periodically go through the photos imaging what those relatives’ lives were like back then. There was one picture in particular that I liked of my uncle. He was bundled in a big fur coat and oversized shearling hat that was pulled down low to his eyebrows, as he was standing up in a reindeer drawn sled. While watching this lush looking film I was reminded of those old photographs. Each scene in this movie was presented in such a way that I felt I was paging through an aristocratic family’s photo album. Adding in the beautiful musical score only made the experience more pleasing. Based on Leo Tolstoy’s classic novel, the story set in 19th century Russia was about the life of Anna Karenina, wife of prominent Aleksei Karenin, played by Jude Law (Sherlock Holmes franchise, Enemy at the Gates). High society was spun into a frenzy when Anna, played by Keira Knightly (A Dangerous Method, The Duchess), was swept up into a torrid affair with the well known Count Vronsky, played by Aaron Taylor (The Illusionist, Nowhere Boy). Keira has a gift for portraying emotionally distraught characters. Jude Law was excellent in his role, showing a restrained maturity. As for Aaron playing Count Vronsky, it was not convincing to me. It might have been because he looked too young or just did not have the acting skills to pull off the character. From the trailers I anticipated a classic story blossoming into a breath taking movie experience. Sadly, the movie was a big disappointment for me. Several times I caught myself beginning to nod off; I was bored for a good portion of the film. The theater within a theater filming made for a pretty picture; however, it made the story choppy. I would have had a better time getting that frail shoebox filled with family photos and going through the pictures again.


2 1/2 stars

About moviejoltz

From a long line of movie afficionados, one brother was the #1 renter of movies in the country with Blockbuster, I am following in the same traditions that came before me. To balance out the long hours seated in dark movie theaters, I also teach yoga and cycling. For the past 3 years, I have correctly picked the major Oscar winners... so join me as we explore the wonder of movies and search for that perfect 4 star movie.

Posted on November 21, 2012, in Drama and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 18 Comments.

  1. Nice blog! First time! Great reviews!

  2. Excellent review. I love the book. Its hard to imagine the movie living up to it, but I’ll see it anyway.

  3. I agree that this film was visually impressive but I felt the style kept me at a distance from the characters. For such an emotionally driven story, this was a little disappointing.

  4. Very interesting review. I read the book and loved it… so I’m really looking forward to watching the movie! …but then again I’m scared it would be a disappointment. It’s such a beautiful book – it deserves a damn good movie.

  5. Haha ift you almost nodded off it is probably not that exciting. Noting these days like “Gone with the wind” anymore…. 🙂 I do love the trailer but only because the music is from my favourite composers – “Two steps from hell”

  6. It is very interesting story about your family roots in Russia. In our museum archive there are a lot of old Russian sepia toned postcard from St. Petersburg, Samara, Rostov, Taganrog and Saratov like these in your family album.
    “Anna Karenina” is one of my favorite novels. We, The Poles, as belonged to Slavic languague family often speaks Russian, so I can read this book in original version. It is beautiful in words and songs.
    A have seen a lot of movie versions of “Anna Karenina” in my life. I do not know what one were the best. It is difficult to decide. I do not like the heroine!
    Best wishes from Poland, Moviejoltz. Wanda

    • Dziekuje. And thank you for stopping by to leave your comments. If you get the opportunity to see this movie version of Anna Karenina, I would be most curious to hear your opinion. Best Wishes to you.

  7. Good evening, moviejoltz.
    I have seen „Anna Karenina” by Joe Wright. I am not disappointed and even quite the opposite: I like this movie. I can agree with the opinion that the metaphor of the “theatrum mundi = the world is a stage” presented in this film is a misunderstanding for a part of audience. On the other side I can understand director’s intention wanted to show us an absurdity of the human being’s relationships. There is quite a big contrast between the world of marionettes and the world of really living people. This difference allows us to notice the falsehood from one side and the truth in the emotional and social dimension on the other. So even Aaron Taylor, in my opinion, is great in his role. An evolution from a womaniser to even suffering man is well shown. A transfer from one world to the other makes possible this kind of transformation. So I do not agree with your opinion about Taylor’s portrait of Wronski. An accident during false horse race with an incredible Anna’s despair and panic attack show the mechanism of her toxic passion in my opinion as well. She is a great actress and thanks to her role I more like this character from the Tolstoy’s novel.
    Movie is so colorful, intense, dynamic in its scenery, costumes and music. Last but not least: this movie contains probably most beautiful scene I have ever seen on the screen. It is this part of movie in which Kitty is washing Nikolay, her husband’s ill brother.
    I understand you being boring for some parts of the film. A few of my friends had the same reaction but the other admired this version of “Anna Karenina”. Let it be.
    Thank you very much for pointing me this film.

  8. vastlycurious.com

    I am going tonight- Joe Wright is one of my all time favorites. I am curious now..I enjoyed Lincoln but found it ponderously slow at some points . The music score at least seems like it will enhance. I hope you are wrong!

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