Generally favorable reviews - based on 41 Critics What's this?

User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 117 Ratings

Your Score
0 out of 10
Rate this:
  • 10
  • 9
  • 8
  • 7
  • 6
  • 5
  • 4
  • 3
  • 2
  • 1
  • 0
  • 0
  • Starring: , , ,
  • Summary: The story unfolds in its original late-19th-century Russia high-society setting and powerfully explores the capacity for love that surges through the human heart, from the passion between adulterers to the bond between a mother and her children. As Anna questions her happiness, change comes to her family, friends, and community. (Focus Features) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 28 out of 41
  2. Negative: 1 out of 41
  1. Reviewed by: Ann Hornaday
    Nov 15, 2012
    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.
  2. Reviewed by: Eric Kohn
    Nov 15, 2012
    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.
  3. Reviewed by: Connie Ogle
    Nov 29, 2012
    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: Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Nov 14, 2012
    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.
  5. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    Nov 15, 2012
    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.
  6. Reviewed by: Peter Bradshaw
    Sep 9, 2012
    The Wright/Stoppard Anna Karenina is not a total success, but it's a bold and creative response to the novel.
  7. Reviewed by: Mick LaSalle
    Nov 15, 2012
    You know there is something seriously wrong with Anna Karenina when you start rooting for the train.

See all 41 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 18 out of 33
  2. Negative: 7 out of 33
  1. Nov 22, 2012
    Keira 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. Expand
  2. Dec 9, 2012
    Visually sumptious - The production design and costumes are truly beautiful and the film does look a million dollars - this version of Tolstoy's Anna Karenina is a triumph. Imaginitively and boldly directed within a theatre setting, Joe Wright elicits a good performance from Keira Knightley (who always seems to walk a tightrope between good and bad in her films) and a scene stealing performance from Jude Law as her betrayed husband. Beautiful and underrated the film rewards an audience prepared to wait for the gradual unfolding. Knightley certainly gets better the longer she inhabits the character. Another plus is the lush music score by Dario Marianelli which quitely adds volumes to the atmosphere of what is taking place on screen. Expand
  3. Jan 21, 2013
    Storyline: This is a period drama set in 19th century Russia. Anna Karenina (Keira Knightley) starts an affair with Count Vronsky (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) while Anna's husband (Jude Law) starts to see the signs and hear rumours of it. The style and way this film has been made is a really good idea as it's a sort of movie/stage-play hybrid with sets being changed on screen but the effect is great to watch.

    Acting: Keira Knightley appeared to be in her element playing Anna. Aaron Tylor-Johnson is a very versatile actor and looks as good playing a Russian count as he does a super hero. Matthew Macfadyen who is better known in the UK than the US seemed very comfortable in his role as Oblonsky. I really liked Jude Law as the long suffering husband and think he just gets better with each film. Kelly MacDonald as Dolly was also good, in fact there is a lot of well known talent in minor roles but everyone is performing as if it's the role of a lifetime.

    Direction: Joe Wright has clearly put his stamp on this with creative long takes and plenty going on like the ballroom scene which was amazing to watch. The music was used to great effect to and together made this a true Joe Wright movie.

    Production: The cinematography by Seamus McGarvey (Avengers & We Need To Talk About Kevin) was brilliant and the Oscar nomination is well deserved. The wardrobe and make-up are also particularly good as you would expect on a movie like this but they were above par I would say.

    Conclusion: I don't normally watch this type of film but Kelly MacDonald in a Joe Wright flik made this a 'must see' for me and also nominated for an Oscar. I'm so glad I did. Recommended Score: 7.5/10
  4. Feb 15, 2014
    It’s the third time for Jon Wright to tender Keira Knightley a leading role in a period drama, the first two (PRIDE & PREJUDICE 2005, 8/10; ATONEMENT 2007, 9/10) have raked in handsome rewards, but woefully the third time is not a charm, a plain and simple reason is that Knightley’s screen reputation is a far cry from Anna Karenina, Tolstoy’s prime epitome of a Russian belle, a married woman with a modernism perspective, who is enchanted by her dauntless quest of passion and dare to break out of the shackles of a dead-water marriage, yet consequentially, entrapped by her capricious psyche and finally corroded by the society’s scorn and her overestimated perseverance of standing her ground.

    However, the film is a high-caliber colossus of mise en scène, deluxe costumes and outstanding art direction, particularly during the first act, its tableaux-on-stage suppleness can effortlessly dazzle the audience and preserve a spellbinding momentum while multifarious characters emerge and disappear, honing up to the climax, the resplendent ballroom sequences, introducing the lust-exuding pas de deux between Anna and Vronsky (Taylor-Johnson), concurrently, the subplot of Kitty (Vikander) and Levin (Gleeson) has been practically rolled out as well.

    Next, here comes the predestined adultery, which is fueled by the laborious emphasis on the enticement of the (not so inadvertent) eye contact, soon appears to be an over-contrived obligation to fornication other than following what your heart wants and the chemistry is purely physical, Anna and Vronsky should be soul-mate right? But here in this film, it is a Hollywood aggrandizement of a skinny beauty shagging a hot youngster who beams with pretended profundity (Taylor-Johnson was only 21, and not masculine enough to take on the role). So the magical momentum slumps, fortunately a little compensation is availed by Jude Law, whose version of Karenin is redolent of compassionate forbearance, elicits a free pardon to dissolve any blame generates from his side, occupies the moral higher ground, which skews our emotional pendulum and undermines Anna’s character-building as an anachronistic woman who tragedy is mostly accredit to the time she is in instead of her own defect in making poor decisions.

    An involuntarily pouting Keira Knightley, treads the same water in THE DUCHESS (2008, 7/10), no wonder the aesthetic fatigue surges, so she can nail Jane Austen’s Elizabeth Bennet, but not Anna Karenina, she is not that versatile as an actress. With Anna hogging the spotlight, the rest of the cast seldom has any chance to enrich their roles, Macfadyen (Knightley’s Mr. Darcy in PRIDE & PREJUDICE) plays her luscious brother Oblonsky, adequately amps up some farcical digressions; as a mirrored romance between the rejected and the neglected (contrasts Anna and Vronsky’s passion play), Gleeson and Vikander imbue the film with a modicum of subtlety but the wayward editing fail to make their story more engaging.

    So this adaption is a musically lyric venture for Joe Wright fans, it has its marked imperfections (thanks a lot, English is not my native tongue, otherwise I would find it is hard to take a Russian literature with mixed accents seriously), but the redundancy of his grandiose aesthetics, suggests Wright is a man knows what is his strongest suit, I can envisage him a successful comeback if only he can acquire some apposite fodder to prepare, maybe it will be his next project PAN, the origin story of Peter Pan, a wonderland backstory may fall right into his froufrou niche, meanwhile hire a new casting director is more contingent now.
  5. Jan 19, 2013
    Anna Karenina is one of the most famous tales of infidelity, but too bad the film couldn't illicit the passion our heroine, Anna, and her lover supposedly felt. Most of the performances were as icy as the environs of Russia. Keira Knightly and cast (Jude Law being the only exception) stifled what could have been an emotionally rich and outlandish film, and Joe Wright Expand
  6. Jan 23, 2013
    Walking out of this film, I wrote a single line at the end of my notes for my review:
  7. Sep 3, 2013
    This was just unwatchable for me. Took me 15 minutes before giving up on this play/movie.Not many movies I don`t finish, but this one is added to the list. It`s was all over the place. Maybe they wanted an award for most ridicules movie. Expand

See all 33 User Reviews


Related Articles

  1. Holiday Movie Preview: 007! Gandalf! Django! (And A Few Oscar Contenders, Too)

    Holiday Movie Preview: 007! Gandalf! Django! (And A Few Oscar Contenders, Too) Image
    Published: November 7, 2012
    The holiday movie season kicks off this weekend with what could be the best James Bond film yet, but there are plenty more treats in store over the coming weeks, including new films from Quentin Tarantino, Kathryn Bigelow, Michael Haneke, David O. Russell, and Judd Apatow and the first of three Hobbit films.
  2. 2012 Fall Film Festival Roundup: The Verdict on Films Screening at TIFF, Telluride, and Venice

    2012 Fall Film Festival Roundup: The Verdict on Films Screening at TIFF, Telluride, and Venice Image
    Published: September 17, 2012
    Find out what critics are saying about over two dozen key movies that debuted at fall's three major film festivals, including "Silver Linings Playbook," "Argo," "To the Wonder," "Cloud Atlas," "Frances Ha," and more.