Anna Karenina

Anna Karenina Image
Metascore
63

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

User Score
6.6

Generally favorable reviews- based on 132 Ratings

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  • 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 comesThe 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

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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 28 out of 41
  2. Negative: 1 out of 41
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  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: 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Reviewed by: Peter Bradshaw
    Sep 9, 2012
    60
    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
    25
    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 36
  2. Negative: 7 out of 36
  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. Expand
  2. May 21, 2013
    9
    We have already seen 'Anna Karenina' done straight at least a dozen times, so why not take a different approach? In this case, the filmmakersWe have already seen 'Anna Karenina' done straight at least a dozen times, so why not take a different approach? In this case, the filmmakers impose Brechtian distancing devices (e.g., the theatrical settings) to challenge the audience's expectations. Apparently, lots of people don't want to be challenged.

    Also, I think Joe Wright is an underrated director whose work always surprises and astonishes me. This film, which is often breathtakingly, deliriously beautiful, is no exception. (Watch for the stunning, horrifying horse race scene.) Of special note are the film's exquisite costumes, music, art and production design, and cinematography. And superb acting; Keira Knightley makes a worthy and memorable Anna.
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  3. Dec 5, 2014
    8
    Keira Knightley and Jude Law gave some stellar performances . I don't know how much Joe Wright gave justice to Leo Tolstoy's epic novel .
    I
    Keira Knightley and Jude Law gave some stellar performances . I don't know how much Joe Wright gave justice to Leo Tolstoy's epic novel .
    I enjoyed the movie up to some extent keeping in mind that it has mixed reviews irrespective of the fact that I'm haven't read the novel itself.
    The dollhouse version of screenplay was enjoyable , Tolstoy's was very lengthy and in parts so it was tough to get the right emotions in just 2 hours .
    Jude Law as Count Alexei Alexandrovich Karenin was some extraordinary character a true inspiration a true man .
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  4. Nov 18, 2012
    6
    Joe Wright is a master of puzzle-like construction and supplies an excellently balanced script. This movie may have a chance of winning aJoe Wright is a master of puzzle-like construction and supplies an excellently balanced script. This movie may have a chance of winning a oscar for Best Actress, Best Production Design, Best Cinematography. Expand
  5. Mar 17, 2013
    5
    Anna Karenina is a powerful story of marital duty and obligation versus lustful passion and the pursuit of personal, if not egomaniacal,Anna Karenina is a powerful story of marital duty and obligation versus lustful passion and the pursuit of personal, if not egomaniacal, happiness. It is a popular theme. Every time I went to the video store to rent it, every single copy was out, even though the allotted shelf space was that which is usually reserved for blockbusters. When I finally procured a copy that had just been returned one minute earlier, I told the clerk that I heard the film was produced as though it was a stage play. He replied, “Yes, but it has more energy than that, although it's a little loosey-goosey.” I didn't have time to ask him what “loosey-goosey” meant, but I later looked it up and it means “relaxed, not tense.” I'm not sure that term is applicable. The stagey pretensions seem to actually make this version of Tolstoy's story stiffer and more formal rather than relaxed, especially in scenes where actors are frozen in place or where actors walk to the edge of the stage to hit their mark. I think maybe the clerk thought that loosey-goosey meant something more like looney-gooney or daffy-waffy, because this Anna Karenina is a little crazy. Tolstoy's Anna Karenina was a serious, mature, and intelligent woman, who may have been emotionally distraught about her situation, but she wasn't crazy even though she did commit suicide, but that was a surprise ending. The theater stage backdrop is done par excellence but it is often distracting, and the film works better in the scenes where the theater backdrop is not visible. Just when you think the director dropped the ruse, the footlights, rafters, ladders, ropes and pulleys are back. The actors are almost perfect--Keira Knightley is an exquisite Anna Karenina; Jude Law is a stern and forbidding Karenin; Alicia Vikander is an angelic Kitty; Domhnall Gleeson is a suffering, brooding, and faithful Levin; and Matthew Macfadyen is a hard-working and perfectly bourgeois aristocrat, civil servant, and family man. And then we have Count Vronsky, whose seductive powers are the pivot upon which this story has to rotate, but unfortunately, the director took some liberties that are a little shocking. When the producers of the Bond franchise decided to bet on a blonde Bond, they won. But a blonde Vronsky? Tolstoy's Vronsky had dark hair--he was handsome, elegant, perhaps angry, pondering, and tormented. If he was a bon vivant, it was not that evident. His fickleness and his vices were not an obvious aspect of his demeanor. You had to get to know him to find out that he was an untrustworthy cad, a scoundrel, a louse, and a worm. On the surface, he was a gentleman. Aaron Taylor-Johnson is a good actor who played John Lennon a while back, but his rendering of Vronsky is a boyish, fun-loving rake, perhaps even a mama's boy, whose carefree attitude causes damage of which he is blissfully unaware. This Vronsky should not have turned the head of the virtuous, lofty, and married Anna Karenina. Also, the movie fails to portray the depth of the grief and despair that Vronsky caused Kitty when he visibly lost interest in her after one dance with Anna Karenina, nor does it do justice to Levin's inner torment when Kitty rejects him because she believes that Vronsky is about to propose to her. On the other hand, the portrayal of Anna's neurotic behavior may go a little too far in making her out to be mentally ill. I don't think Anna's behavior was meant to portray mental illness as much as it was meant to portray the consequences of Vronsky's amoral behavior (symbolized by him riding his beloved horse too hard and then having to shoot it), the inevitable outcome of an affair based mostly on physical attraction, and the destructive power of social ostracization. The stage-set theatricality is artistically pleasing, but it burdens the film, causing it to be drawn out in slow motion, making for a long and tedious decline of this noble and tragic literary heroine. Expand
  6. Feb 17, 2013
    4
    At the opening, I was thrilled with the visual complexity of the stage play conceit, but all that could not lift the tedium. Why were all theAt the opening, I was thrilled with the visual complexity of the stage play conceit, but all that could not lift the tedium. Why were all the actors spouting their lines in a bizarrely rushed and completely passionless manner? Barely a sense of humanity in there, and no one to like. Just some overly self-conscious, blatantly modern styling without a grip of the material. Expand
  7. Sep 3, 2013
    0
    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 addedThis 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 36 User Reviews

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