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63

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

User Score
6.4

Generally favorable reviews- based on 114 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 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
    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: 17 out of 32
  2. Negative: 7 out of 32
  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'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
    9
    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
    8
    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
    Expand
  4. Dec 9, 2012
    6
    If you want Tolstoy as arty fiction first and tragedy a distant second then you might like this. If you want a story told straight you won't. By focusing on staging the story as a play inside a play, rather than telling the tale as a novel the result was to pull me away from all the characters. I even yearned for Anna to go to the station much more quickly than she did. The choice for Vronsky was a poor one, all blond mustache and little macho, and Knightley's straying upper lip always distracts me. If I'd wanted to see the bloody thing on stage I'd have gone to a theatre, not a cinema. Expand
  5. Dec 3, 2012
    5
    Joe Wright, director of this version of the Tolstoy classic, has chosen to emphasize the theatrical nature of the period by setting most of the locations in a theatre: on stage, backstage and in the house. This sometimes creates a flowing, dancelike style that harkens to Luhrmann and Fellini. It also gets in the way of creating a cohesive and moving experience. Some of the scenery and all of the costumes are stunning. The performers do nicely, but the fervor that should drive the drama is uneven. Expand
  6. Dec 3, 2012
    4
    The costumes by Jacqueline Durran are sumptuous , the production design by Sarah Greenwood head spinning and the original music by Dario Marianelli is at times as frantic as the editing is and at other times very operatic. The camera loves Keira Knightley, as Anna Karenina, just as much as Keira Knightley loves the camera. Jude Law, as her cuckolded husband, gives the best performance in the film and 20 years ago would have played her lover, Vronsky, bringing more fire, looks and chemistry to the role than does Aaron Taylor-Johnson.

    Whether it is the concept of the screenplay by the world famous playwright Tom Stoppard and/or the director Joe Wright, based on the even more famous novel by Leo Tolstoy, the novelty of staging it as a play, using every nook and cranny of a theatre, very quickly falls flat and takes you out of the story just as Wright goes outside the theatre too many times. At times it seems like an opera, operetta or musical theatre without songs being sung. At times you find yourself counting the costume changes by Anna and Vronsky trying to see who accomplishes the most and there are a lot. In some scenes costume changes are stylistic which is intriguing at first but then, sadly, like the movie, becomes boring.

    There are many roles in the film but the more prominent are Matthew Macfadyen as Anna
    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 added to the list. It`s was all over the place. Maybe they wanted an award for most ridicules movie. Expand

See all 32 User Reviews

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