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Anna Karenina (2012)

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In late-19th-century Russian high society, St. Petersburg aristocrat Anna Karenina enters into a life-changing affair with the dashing Count Alexei Vronsky.

Director:

Joe Wright

Writers:

Tom Stoppard (screenplay), Leo Tolstoy (novel)
Reviews
Popularity
1,272 ( 134)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Matthew Macfadyen ... Oblonsky
Eric MacLennan Eric MacLennan ... Matvey
Kelly Macdonald ... Dolly
Theo Morrissey Theo Morrissey ... Grisha Oblonsky
Cecily Morrissey Cecily Morrissey ... Lili Oblonsky
Freya Galpin Freya Galpin ... Masha Oblonsky
Octavia Morrissey Octavia Morrissey ... Tanya Oblonsky
Beatrice Morrissey Beatrice Morrissey ... Vasya Oblonsky
Marine Battier Marine Battier ... Mlle. Roland
Keira Knightley ... Anna Karenina
Guro Nagelhus Schia ... Annushka
Aruhan Galieva Aruhan Galieva ... Aruhan
Jude Law ... Karenin
Carl Grose Carl Grose ... Korney
Bryan Hands Bryan Hands ... Mikhail Slyudin
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Storyline

In 1874, in the Imperial Russia, the aristocratic Anna Karenina travels from Saint Petersburg to Moscow to save the marriage of her brother Prince Oblonsky, who had had a love affair with his housemaid. Anna Karenina has a cold marriage with her husband, Count Alexei Karenin, and they have a son. Anna meets the cavalry officer Count Vronsky at the train station and they feel attracted by each other. Soon she learns that Vronsky will propose to Kitty, who is the younger sister of her sister-in-law Dolly. Anna satisfactorily resolves the infidelity case of her brother and Kitty invites her to stay for the ball. However, Anna Karenina and Vronsky dance in the ball, calling the attention of the conservative society. Soon they have a love affair that will lead Anna Karenina to a tragic fate. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some sexuality and violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Official site | See more »

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

7 September 2012 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Ana Karenjina See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$320,690, 18 November 2012, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$12,816,367

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$68,929,150
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Datasat | Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The soundtrack for several of the country scenes makes use of a Russian folk song that was also adapted (but without the words) by Tchaikovsky in his Fourth Symphony, written in the same period as was Tolstoy's novel. See more »

Goofs

Throughout the film every time Anna's son's name is spoken, it is uniformly mispronounced in four syllables using some wrong phonemes, whereas in Russian his name has three syllables. See more »

Quotes

Alexei Karenin: You begged me for my forgiveness.
Anna Karenina: But I didn't die and now I have to live with it.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Count Vronsky is misspelled as "Vronksy" in the end credits. See more »


Soundtracks

Song for a New Life (Masha's Song)
(uncredited)
Written by Anoushka Shankar
Performed by Tannishtha Chatterjee
See more »

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User Reviews

 
An interesting take on AK marred by pretentiousness
18 September 2012 | by miss_lady_ice-853-608700See all my reviews

I adore the novel, so I will be discussing Joe Wright's take on it and where it ranks amongst other adaptations but I will of course look at its merits as a film aside from the novel.

As a whole adaptation, this version falls somewhere in the middle. Even without all the metatheatrical trappings, it still took an interesting and valid approach to the novel, proving that the novel could be adapted until infinity and it would still be fresh each time. As readers of the novel would know, there is much more to it than Anna's affair. Tolstoy did not write vague types: he wrote fully-fleshed characters, and Tom Stoppard's screenplay acknowledged Tolstoy's style. Therefore I don't want to condemn the film outright because that would overshadow the things that it does get right.

Keira Knightley's version of Anna is not nearly as bad as you would think. She has the sense to restrain herself a little so that the many other elements of the novel shine through. She goes for the unsympathetic approach and it works. All her mannerisms that I generally find annoying- the schoolgirl smirking and rampant nymphomania- actually work for this role. This Anna takes Vronsky just because she can, and then ultimately regrets it. We can feel her frustration: she's young and wants to have fun but she's tied down to a stuffy older husband. In that sense, it's quite a modern interpretation, but not hideously so.

Aaron Taylor-Johnson as Count Vronsky was just miscast. If the novel had been about Anna seducing a schoolboy, he would have been great, but Vronsky is meant to be a dashing man. The styling is atrocious- he looks like a seventies Scandinavian Eurovision entry. Wright seems to have told some of the actors to act realistic and some to play up to the stylised setting. Taylor-Johnson plays the artifice so much that he just comes off as camp and sleazy. The scene where he is about to ride Frou Frou is like a production of Equus and there's a love scene with Keira Knightley that brought to mind an old advert for Philadelphia cheese. Their revelation of love is also poorly dealt with. Anna has some kind of fantasy dream where the two have an "erotic ballet" and suddenly they're banging away, presumably now in the real world.

Jude Law as Karenin. A bizarre choice when he could have played Vronsky five years ago and might even get away with it now at a push. However, he gives a performance that is probably his best. His Karenin is a bureaucrat through and through. Other adaptations have still made Karenin an attractive option. This Karenin is certainly not going to develop any great passion soon. We also see how he is manipulated by moral guardian Countess Lydia. If Law is trying to make a reputation as a serious actor, he's on the right path.

And what about all that pretentious theatre stuff? It seriously slows down the pace in the first third but once you get used to it, you can just enjoy the film. The ending is rather abrupt (no, that famous ending is not the last scene) but quite poignant.


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