Film Review: Anna Karenina

 In Classics, Movies based on Literary Works

Rating: 4 out of 5
Genre: Classic/Drama

For the last several months, I have been waiting painstakingly for the new Anna Karenina film with Keira Knightley and Jude Law to come to theaters. When it finally premiered last Wednesday, I was so excited to get to see it over the Thanksgiving weekend. I finally convinced my husband to go see it with me and, as I looked up the movie theaters that was showing the film, I was shocked and horrified to find that the Focus Features film was only being shown in one theater here in Orange County. Disgraceful! So, I drove to the one little theater that was only showing foreign films and was pleased to see the theater was packed.

As we got settled into our seats, I looked around and realized I was the youngest person in the theater by at least 30 years. Why aren’t there any young people here? I thought to myself… but then I settled in and waited for the movie to begin. I walked into the theater with very high expectations, as I knew that the production company and director are the same as my very favorite movie, Pride and Prejudice.  So, as the film started, it opened on a scene of a theatre stage and an orchestra that began playing a prelude. Suddenly, the curtain rose, a train came across the stage, and the film began. It was a strange beginning, which, really, set the stage for the rest of the movie.

The film was artsy, to say the least. It was a balance between a play and a film as all the characters were on stage but then, as the scene began to unfold, the stage melted into a cinematographic dream. The characters walked off of a train and onto the stage, toward the backdrop and then into the snow, the entire movie was a dichotomy and melding of stage and film, something that I have certainly never seen before. Keira Knightley was a dream as Anna Karenina. She looked so beautiful in every scene and her acting was superb.

It is hard to write a film review such as this one without giving away too much of the film. What I will say, however, is that as far as Academy Awards go, Keira Knightly should be in the running and the film should certainly be nominated for cinematography and costumes.

From the few reviews I have allowed myself to read online, it seems that the stage/film bond is not a huge plus for moviegoers, probably because it is unexpected. So, I am letting you all know, that this is something that is very prominent in the film. I can see why others might not love the film but I adored it. It is one of those films that I would definitely buy and let it play in the background while I am writing, even with the sound off. To be able to look up and see the beautiful scenery would be a great distraction when I need to clear my brain or find some inspiration. All in all, I loved the film and I highly recommend it!

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