Anna Karenina (2012) Review | Jamie Daily

Anna Karenina (2012)
85th Academy Awards 2013
2/5 Stars
Nominated for 4 awards, of which it won 1.
Nominated for Best Original Score (Dario Marianelli), Best Production Design (Sarah GreenwoodKatie Spencer), and Best Cinematography (Seamus McGarvey).
Won Best Costume Design (Jacqueline Durran).
Watched June 6, 2013.

The story of Anna Karenina is perhaps one of my least favourite so far among the 2013 nominations, which is of course no fault of the screenwriter as it is based on Leo Tolstoy‘s classic novel.  Those who love the story, as well as Tolstoy, don’t worry.  Although my feelings toward Anna and her plot line are less than favorable, I did quite enjoy the stories surrounding her, as well as the interesting style of this latest film.  While the artistic direction may be a bit distracting from the story, I found it quite enchanting and it made me wish that it had been bestowed upon a different story, because then I would have liked to watch it again.


This may all be a very complicated way of saying that I have a love-hate relationship with director Joe Wright’s interpretation of Anna Karenina.  It is the story of a woman (Kiera Knightley) in the Russian high society  who does not love her husband (Jude Law).  Instead of remaining faithful so that she may be with her beloved son, she runs off with Count Vronsky (Aaron Taylor-Johnson)–whose mustache is very silly if I do say so myself–and therefore suffers the social backlash.


It is this story that I found very annoying.  I didn’t care for Anna and therefore understood none of her decisions.  Her husband, although a bit weak when it comes to home life, was an admirable character.  Vronsky was young and had no idea what he was getting Anna into, and her poor abandoned son doesn’t get much screen time.  I appreciated the story in that it shows an example of why it is morally wrong to cheat on your husband, although Anna mainly suffered the surface repercussions–none of her friends would hang out with her any more.  If the book goes more in depth about this, then perhaps there was not enough time to explore the depth of it more than that in the film.


Despite my dislike for the story, again, I quite appreciated the production design and the costumes.  In fact, my love for period pieces is what kept me going through the over two hour film and I wished that the beautiful consuming and innovative sets could have been bestowed on a different plot line.  I liked the side stories, although they seemed somewhat out of place, despite showing a complete turnaround from Anna.


I will very readily say that I won’t be seeking out this Anna Karenina adaptation again any time soon, and unless you 1. like the story or 2. have incredible patience, I would advise against watching it just to see the aesthetics.

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