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Anna Karenina
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Anna Karenina More at IMDbPro »

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Beautiful but shallow

Author: Red Coat from Serbia
6 December 2013

First of all i would like to say a word or two about that "Slavic's soul". Well, there is no such thing.I read all critics and they were all like " Movie didn't catch Slavic's or Russian spirit" It is very natural and normal that role of Elizabeth Bennet suits Keira perfect,unlike the role of Anna. Because she grew up with that character she knows how she breath, what moves her etc. I grew up, on the other hand, with Anna. Essays, tests, playing roles, hours of talking, looong and exhausting discussion about characters and writer. I was 16... and all i could see was story of love, passion and stupidity of moral and law regulations of that time. Back then i would be blown away with this movie. BUT i read it again,couple of years ago,and... well how can i put it ..hmm there is nothing to do with love passion etc. Everyone who reads Tolstoy knows that. In this adaptation we miss that, that important part of the novel, which reflected in character of Levin. Through the whole movie i had a feeling that this is a tribute to Anna Karenina,not a serious and meaningful attempt to get to the essence of the novel and characters. Beautiful,enchanting,divine tribute, but only that. So, if someone do his job bad, and that job is to make the adapted screenplay, you cannot say " Ohh they don't understand our soul" it is not so complicated and mystic.

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for Anna, it is basically libido

Author: tycomplex jxy from China
11 November 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Viewers are talking about the authenticity to the novel, about the format and theatrical grandeur, character analysis.

What i see about Anna is just libido. Before the suicidal, in her semi- daydream, which played out like a reflection on the car window pane, is none other than the intercourse they are having: Anna on top. Is there nothing else that are more touching, more memorable about their love,except the fleshy pleasure she obtained from a young male body?

This observation of mine might be superfluous: it is so simple, so obvious. But it helps to understand Anna and her fate better.

The love is libido and much more. It is a breaking away from a hypocrite upper class society, a symbol of her freedom, a symbol of her independence, her rights, her fancies, the wakening of her body.

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Gorgeous-looking but nothing of substance going on

Author: kathypig1 from USA
30 October 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

My rating of 3 is actually generous and given solely on the performances of Jude Law and Matthew MacFadyen as Karenin and Stiva, respectively. Law perfectly captures the paradox of both Karenin's moral absolutism and his love for Anna, and MacFadyen has the total essence of Stiva's happy-go- lucky nature down pat. Keira K looks ravishing as usual (but I always think if she'd gain 20 pounds she'd be the most stunning actress alive) but the costumes and scenery cannot save this mess. The actor playing Vronsky here is utterly abysmal. Nothing of Anna's doomed demented passion is on display here and Vronsky looks like a schoolboy fresh off the soccer pitch waiting to be picked up by his Mummy. Shame that Tolstoy's masterpiece has such an uneven cinematic record of adaptations-Masterpiece Theater back in the 70s gave it a pretty decent treatment and Sean Bean was a rough-hewn but hot Vronsky back in the day as well. Skip this and read the book instead.

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No heat No chemistry

Author: SnoopyStyle
1 September 2013

This is the latest interpretation of the classic novel. It's 1874 Imperial Russia.

The aristocratic Anna Karenina (Keira Knightley) is married to the cold Count Alexei Karenin (Jude Law), and they have a son. Anna has an affair with young dashing cavalry officer Count Vronsky (Aaron Taylor-Johnson).

There is no doubt that this is a good looking film visually. But the actors don't have enough chemistry. All the acting is stiff and mannered. I didn't find any heat between Keira Knightley and Aaron Taylor-Johnson. It's all tiresome.

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You won't get it if you haven't read it

Author: livstrongeva
25 August 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

For those who have not read the book it might be quite hard to understand every detail. Why is that, you may ask? Anna Karenina's story takes up 8 books written by Russian writer Tolstoy. In order to put 800 pages full with growing drama into a two hour movie, it requires to take only the most important parts and a lot of things, story twists were left out. If you have read the book, it is easy to fill the gaps. But for a friend of mine who was watching without reading the book it was hard to follow.

The making of the movie as a play was in my opinion a very good decision as it allowed to see many scenes happening at the same time. That is also one of the characteristics of the books - there is a lot going on at the same time. There are even nine main characters who have their own lives and goals. But of course, all of them are connected in some way.

Talking about the story, I must admit I do not like the other half - after Anna and Vronsky get together. The reason why is that Anna gets completely insane with jealousy. She gets so possessive and wants Vronsky only for himself. There is a lot of that left out from the movie but it still got on my nerves. But that is the main theme - how a respectable woman by following her dreams becomes weak and very much dependent.

The ending was a bit surprising for me, because it just shows short glimpses of everybody's life without showing the effect of her suicide. It seems that only her brother is affected - everybody else looks happy and goes on with their lives.

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All Embellishment More Than Substance

Author: 3xHCCH from Quezon City, Philippines
24 February 2013

"Anna Karenina" is a classic in Russian literature by Leo Tolstoi. I only know the basic story about a married Russian aristocrat and her passionate and ill-fated affair with a younger count. I generally do not like stories that deal with adultery. But this one is based on a famous novel which I have not yet read, and this film had multiple Oscar nominations, so I wanted to see how this film directed by Joe Wright will tell the story.

This version of "Anna Karenina" is a beautifully-filmed, technically- polished production. All the technical aspects are practically perfect! The cinematography was breath-taking. The editing was exciting. The production design was impeccable. The music was effectively moving. Joe Wright's idea of setting the story to unfold on a stage was artistic, imaginative and inspired.

I believe what held this film from being the best it could be was the cast. I know Keira Knightley is a Joe Wright favorite. She had been in his two most famous films, "Pride and Prejudice" (2005) and "Atonement" (2007), both of which had Keira perfectly casted. As Anna, there seemed to be a problem in conveying the motivation for sacrificing her ideal marriage to Karenin (Jude Law in an understated role).

I think the main problem is the lack of chemistry between Keira and Aaron Taylor-Johnson who played her illicit lover Count Vronsky. If not for that perfectly shot dance scene in the ballroom where Anna and the Count gave in to their lust, the rest of the film will make you wonder what the fuss about the Count was all about. Taylor-Johnson's Vronsky looked pretty, sulky and weak, not the dominating alpha male which would sweep Anna off her feet.

Well, this movie did make me want to seek out the other film versions of the novel for comparison. It also made me want to read the source novel itself to see how such a mundane story of unfaithfulness be as timeless as this one had been. This movie failed to make me see why.

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First half very good. Second half all soap and pointless

Author: (bob-rutzel-1) from United States
24 February 2013

In the 1870s, Anna Karenina (Keira Knightley) falls in love with Cavalry Officer Count Vronsky (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and has his baby. This causes a scandal because she is married to Karenin (Jude Law) a very high Russian gov't official.

If the Russians had TV back in the 1870s, this would have been the first soap.

The first half of the movie was fantastic, exciting and lively. We had great dialogues although we had a very hard time figuring out what the players were saying and in what context. We had no idea what was going on, but it was enjoyable. We had great scenery, music and dancing (oh, I have never seen this kind of dancing where the hands and arms played as great a part in the dance as the movement of the legs of both dancers. This never caught on here, did it? Pity) Some story parts were shown on a stage for the whole world to see and other parts were not shown on a stage. Clever.

The first half was kind of robotic, and almost hypnotic and you got the feeling that this was quite a marvelous pinball machine at work here. The choreography of the players as they moved in and out of time and places was seamless. So too were the stage hands who broke down the scenes to set up the next shot with curtain going up and up and up to give us another view of either an inside shot or an outside one. It was like peeling an onion back to get to the meat. This was all quite creative and poetic and left us breathless. We are swooning here, can't you tell?

And, yet the first half gave no hint of what this was all about. We didn't know where we were going and it didn't matter. The first half was fun. But – oh,oh - we did see some eye contact between married Anna and the single Count Vronsky ….and…..and…….ah….. here it comes: the start of the second half. Here we go………………

The second half was all soap. Anna and the Count dallied, and Karenin , her husband, fumed. Then along comes a baby, and high society shuns Anna. Typical soap. See?

My advice: watch the first half only and then go watch another Bond, James Bond movie. Skyfall, I think is the latest one. If you end up watching the second half, you will come away muttering to yourself, "why are certain movies made?" coming up with no answer. However, you could read the book.

Oh, the acting all around is good and by now you should have figured out that Karenin was actually Jude Law (hey, I didn't know he was in this thing hiding behind that beard, mustache and glasses.) But, it was him.

Let's face it - a story like this with today's openness and lack of inhibitions just doesn't work and not many care. This is for literary scholars. They care. We don't. (4/10)

Violence: Not really. Sex: Yes, but camera angles made viewing difficult to see anything. Nudity: No. Language: No.

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Got boring

Author: cathy-wright-330-456631
22 February 2013

I loved this book and have seen other filmed versions of the story. All had strengths and weaknesses. This one began as a visual feast, and I did not mind that it was not historically accurate in terms of costumes and mannerisms. Anna and her set lived their lives on the stage of society, and Wright's theatrical backdrop worked for me.

But then, halfway through the movie, I got bored. My attention wandered, I started thinking about whether the weather was good enough to take the dog for a walk. Somewhere around the middle of the film, after Anna had her illicit lovechild, I stopped caring about her and Vronsky. Both got tiresome in their selfishness and petulance. Even good choices have costs. But Anna and Vronsky wanted everything for free. Instead of feeling like Anna's eventual death was a tragedy, I was glad as a viewer to be put out of the misery of watching her feel sorry for herself. To me, the Vronsky/Anna affair seemed more like a self-indulgent, adolescent romance than a passionate affair between two deeply feeling but essentially flawed adults.

When other characters came on the scene, my attention perked up again. I was especially impressed by the work of Law as the emotionally crippled Karenin, Gleeson and Vikander as the sweetly loving Levin and Kitty, and Macfadyen as Stiva, the bounder with a heart. All of them, despite their flaws, had the capacity to consider others than themselves.

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The Vidiot Reviews

Author: capone666 from Canada
20 February 2013

Anna Karenina

Even if you never read him, Tolstoy is good to have on your bookshelf in case you need to stop a bullet.

Unfortunately, this Tolstoy drama is on celluloid, so it's not a good shield.

Anna Karenina (Keira Knightley) is wife and mother to the son of a powerful, but much older, politician (Jude Law).

While traveling to Moscow she falls in love with Alexi (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), a young count intended to court Anna's sister-in-law Kitty (Alicia Vikander).

Unable to deny their passion, Anna and Alexi begin a torrid affair that results in a love child. Meanwhile, Anna's brother (Matthew Macfadyen) plays matchmaker to Kitty and his friend (Domhnall Gleeson).

A theatrical play within a film, the kaleidoscopic scenery in this adaptation of Tolstoy's tome is rewarding enough to overlook its tedious sub-plot and amoral leads.

Besides, separation in Russia means your ex can still fly drones over your airspace.

Green Light

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Artistically progressive, which isn't necessarily good

Author: kernwilson from United States
19 October 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is a movie I could not finish watching. And I am one of those guys who stays to the bitter end of every movie. I see it as almost a badge of honor. But there are 4 movies I have failed in the last two years, and this is one of them.

I guess it was the stage motif. (spoiler) In case you are not aware, there is a device in the movie whereby some scenes take place on a theater stage. When a person leaves a room, for example, they might open a door in the ballroom which opens onto a stage and then they exit a door at the back of the stage that opens into the next scene. It is done very matter-of-factly and the actors proceed to and across the stage in the same manner they would if they had to walk across the lawn. It is bizarre. And it did not work for me. And after about the third entrance or exit to or from the theater I had enough.

I can't intelligently comment on any other aspect of the film, other than to add that in the relatively short time I watched it, it never captured my attention.

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