Metascore
63

Generally favorable reviews - based on 41 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 28 out of 41
  2. Negative: 1 out of 41
  1. Reviewed by: Mike Scott
    Nov 30, 2012
    60
    That storytelling, however, is uneven, ranging from something approaching tedium to moments that are downright wonderful (such as the sweetest of scenes, involving two young lovers -- played by and Alicia Vikander and Domhnall Gleeson -- and a stack of children's blocks).
  2. Reviewed by: Lawrence Toppman
    Nov 29, 2012
    50
    The arc of the 800-page novel, crammed into 130 minutes, becomes a line as flat as the heart monitor of a dead patient. A story that ought to possess the mad grandeur of an opera acquires the tedious regularity of soap opera.
  3. Reviewed by: Connie Ogle
    Nov 29, 2012
    75
    Wright's film is visually stimulating to be sure, but he never loses sight of the raw human emotions that make Anna Karenina a classic.
  4. Reviewed by: Kimberley Jones
    Nov 28, 2012
    50
    There's no denying the dazzling effect, but a fireworks sequence midfilm only underscores the sad fact that there's no lasting illumination here, only the fast-burn spitzing of bang snaps.
  5. Reviewed by: Steve Persall
    Nov 28, 2012
    75
    It's an audacious mashup that Baz Luhrmann would approve, lending freshness to Tolstoy's too-often-told tale.
  6. Reviewed by: Joe Williams
    Nov 23, 2012
    75
    Even more than most versions of Anna Karenina, this chamber piece is heated by two combustible characters, not by the winds of war and peace.
  7. Reviewed by: Marc Mohan
    Nov 23, 2012
    83
    Whatever the interpretation, Stoppard and Wright have demonstrated that Anna's saga has lost none of its power.
  8. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    Nov 20, 2012
    70
    It's not that the artificiality doesn't work sometimes. It does, as some of the scenes are gorgeous to look at. But too often it serves as more of a distraction than an effective tool for telling the story.
  9. Reviewed by: Alison Willmore
    Nov 18, 2012
    65
    Scripted by playwright Tom Stoppard, the film labors to fit Tolstoy's sprawling story into its two hour and ten minute runtime by drawing its characters with minimal lines.
  10. Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    Nov 16, 2012
    42
    One of the many, many things wrong with Joe Wright's Anna Karenina, starring Keira Knightley as literature's most famous adulteress – take that, Emma Bovary! – is that one never feels the love. It's a conceit in search of a movie. It could just as easily have been titled "Décor."
  11. Reviewed by: Lou Lumenick
    Nov 15, 2012
    75
    As cleverly adapted by Tom Stoppard, this is an Anna Karenina that's pretty much guaranteed to polarize audiences.
  12. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    Nov 15, 2012
    63
    Though energetic, daring and gorgeous to behold, this re-imagining of Tolstoy's classic tale lacks a viable sense of passion, holding the characters at arm's length and glossing over social issues.
  13. Reviewed by: Ann Hornaday
    Nov 15, 2012
    100
    While Wright's self-conscious theatricality and dollhouse aesthetic conjure comparisons to Baz Luhrmann and Wes Anderson, he outstrips both those filmmakers in moral seriousness and maturity.
  14. Reviewed by: Mick LaSalle
    Nov 15, 2012
    25
    You know there is something seriously wrong with Anna Karenina when you start rooting for the train.
  15. Reviewed by: Peter Travers
    Nov 15, 2012
    88
    The story has been filmed many times, but never with this kind of erotic charge. Knightley is glorious, her eyes blazing with a carnal yearning that can turn vindictive at any perceived slight.
  16. Reviewed by: A.O. Scott
    Nov 15, 2012
    100
    Mr. Wright's Anna Karenina is different. It is risky and ambitious enough to count as an act of artistic hubris, and confident enough to triumph on its own slightly - wonderfully - crazy terms.
  17. Reviewed by: Betsy Sharkey
    Nov 15, 2012
    50
    In the end Anna Karenina lets you down - visually stunning, emotionally overwrought, beautifully acted, but not quite right.
  18. Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    Nov 15, 2012
    40
    This latest iteration of the Tolstoy classic was clearly the product of audacious thinking, stylishly applied. Still, the thinking was as wrongheaded as it was hollow-hearted. Yet another elaborate production chases its audience away.
  19. Reviewed by: James Berardinelli
    Nov 15, 2012
    75
    The best thing that can be said about Wright's immersion into the world of Tolstoy is that it's interesting - a quality not always true of Anna Karenina adaptations. The movie also doesn't feel rushed, successfully capturing more of the novel's secondary stories into its fabric.
  20. Reviewed by: Ella Taylor
    Nov 15, 2012
    65
    Inner life comes hard to Knightley, and she never gets a grip on the mounting emotional turmoil that threatens to crush Anna as she progresses from stylish young hipster-about-town to kept woman to bereft mother to paranoid social pariah.
  21. Reviewed by: Elizabeth Weitzman
    Nov 15, 2012
    60
    The film's structure is so boldly conceived it seems unfair to focus on flaws. But the central problem is undeniable: There is no chemistry whatsoever between the leads.
  22. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Nov 15, 2012
    63
    The new film staggers under such a weight of self-conscious visual style that the story never connects with a viewer's emotions. Leo Tolstoy's classic novel has been filmed often, but this is the first time it takes place in a snow globe.
  23. Reviewed by: Andrew O'Hehir
    Nov 15, 2012
    80
    Does this crazy idea work? Maybe 70 percent of the time, but when it does it's both daring and brilliant.
  24. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    Nov 15, 2012
    63
    At its most frantic the cutting and staging here veers perilously close to Baz Luhrmann "Moulin Rouge!" territory for comfort. ... I'd rather have seen Wright's carefully elaborated production on a stage, instead of in a movie partly on a stage.
  25. Reviewed by: Eric Kohn
    Nov 15, 2012
    83
    Wright's extraordinary long takes draw you into the universe of Anna Karenina with a seamless approach that a straightforward literary adaptation could never accomplish.
  26. Reviewed by: Roger Ebert
    Nov 14, 2012
    63
    This is a sumptuous film - extravagantly staged and photographed, perhaps too much so for its own good. There are times when it is not quite clear if we are looking at characters in a story or players on a stage. Productions can sometimes upstage a story, but when the story is as considerable as Anna Karenina, that can be a miscalculation.
  27. Reviewed by: Keith Phipps
    Nov 14, 2012
    67
    If only the emotions of the performances, the themes of the story, and Wright's cinematic virtuosity synced up more often. A lopsided abridgement that speeds through the plot doesn't help.
  28. Reviewed by: Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Nov 14, 2012
    67
    In making the radical artistic choice to tell the story as if it were being enacted by players on a stage, Wright falls passionately in love with his own fanciful artifices.
  29. Reviewed by: Nick Pinkerton
    Nov 13, 2012
    70
    Just as the characters created by Tolstoy the artist got the advantage of Tolstoy the polemicist - at least until the end of his life - so these confoundingly good performances gradually win the movie from Wright's puerile conceit, giving us an Anna Karenina if not for the ages, than at least for an evening.
  30. Reviewed by: Keith Uhlich
    Nov 13, 2012
    40
    The more the visual ephemera piles up, the more the emotional thrust of the story gets buried beneath all the monotonous pageantry. (Anna's many tête-à-têtes with her two lovers - especially a should-be-dizzying dance-seduction scene - are frigid pomp without any real heat.)
User Score
6.5

Generally favorable reviews- based on 118 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 19 out of 34
  2. Negative: 7 out of 34
  1. Nov 22, 2012
    10
    Keira Knightley and Jude Law are extraordinary. Wright's unique and beautifully conceived version of the film, using Tom Stoppard'sKeira Knightley and Jude Law are extraordinary. Wright's unique and beautifully conceived version of the film, using Tom Stoppard's intelligent adaptation, struck me as perfect for rendering the depth and complexity of the story. The "artifice" of the setting, design and art direction are brought forth with sensitivity and satisfying wholeness. Highly, highly recommended for adults who want to participate in the construction of a wonderful film and story. Full Review »
  2. Feb 3, 2013
    3
    I am russian. I read 'Anna Karenina'. And you know what this film left mixed impression. Everything is according to Tolstoy, the actors areI am russian. I read 'Anna Karenina'. And you know what this film left mixed impression. Everything is according to Tolstoy, the actors are brilliant, however the director afforded himself to add a thing of his own to the film every scene of the film was a scene in a theatre! That is nonsense, Tolstoy didn't write that... And only this director-made 'feature' made of the film almost a total bull***t. Whithout that 'feature' the film would be great. Full Review »
  3. Dec 2, 2012
    5
    Tolstoy must be "turning over in his grave" if he saw what has been done to his book. The acting is ok although Jude Law really did a fineTolstoy must be "turning over in his grave" if he saw what has been done to his book. The acting is ok although Jude Law really did a fine job, but Knightly has really overplayed her role to the point of laughter at her emoting. But mostly Stoppard has turned a fine literary work into something laughable. The costuming is lovely, and the choreography is much overdone-it looks foppish. Vrovsky is portrayed often as a gay blade. If there is one film to be missed this season, this is it. Full Review »