Set in late-19th-century Russia high-society, the aristocrat Anna Karenina enters into a life-changing affair with the affluent Count Vronsky. The story follows a woman who is prepared to give up everything for love.
May I start by mentioning, I am not the target audience for which this film was aiming; I wouldn’t normally see this film at the cinemas. During the first act, I found myself pondering whether or not I was enjoying the film and if this magical ‘theatre world’ style the film’s presented as had done it justice. During the second act I grew fonder and found myself secretly drawn to empathise with Anna Karenina. I became enlightened and inspired by the magic and creativity of the film.
I must mention and give credit to the visual style and art department of the film, as these factors where well thought out. The costumes were delicate and slightly melodramatic, which fit the feel of the theatre well. The set was dressed to the finest of details and did not disappoint. Joe Wright (director) has done a fabulous job at bringing this unique love story to life. Everything I saw on screen captured my imagination and felt like a beautifully tragic dream. It was quite peculiar watching a film that was presented in a theatre style, especially coming from a theatre background myself, but this film had won me over.
The set, costumes, score and the overall visual elements of the film were captivating from the beginning, even before we see the films main talent. KEIRA KNIGHTLY who plays the infamous Anna Karenina is beautiful every second she’s on screen. Her performance is commendable and she has a way with manipulating the audience into feeling sympathetic for her even though she has done wrong by her husband, Karenin, played by JUDE LAW. Law, as always, gives a believable performance which compliments the space around him. Law is able to make the audience feel tension with just an expression. Anna Karenina’s love interest, Vronski, played by AARON TAYLOR-JOHNSON has outstanding chemistry with Knightly. He plays the part well, even when I felt I should hate him, I surprisingly felt sympathy.
The story is beautiful and tragic at the same time. The bitter sweetness comes from a woman who is prepared to leave her husband, children and reputation for love. I especially love how the film has the actors in a stage play that then moves into the real world. I felt there was not enough mention of the love between Kitty (ALICIA VIKANDER) and Levin (DOMHNALL GLEESON). It seemed they had this wonderful side-story that was briefly touched on throughout the film which didn’t allow the audience to feel the chemistry between the two.
This film isn’t for an impatient audience and an open mind is definitely needed as the film can seem quite lengthy at times and is quite obscure compared to your average romance movie. After I watched the film I couldn’t tell whether or not I enjoyed myself. After sleeping on it, I came to the realisation the film is terrific. You will need to go into the film giving your undivided attention.
For Joe Wrights’ adaptation I am giving 8/10 stars.