Keira Knightley plays a darker Anna in this latest incarnation of the classic Russian tale. Kate Caroline reviews the 2012 film adaptation of Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina.
Imperial Russia, 1874. The stage is set and so begins the theatrical tale of Anna Karenina.
Directed by Joe Wright, his vision for the film was to do something different with the story, to tell it in a different way. Wright’s Anna Karenina is set in a theatre, with stagehands constantly changing the scenery.
At the beginning of the film especially, we feel as if we have entered a playhouse, which can be a little distracting, but after the scenes settle down you can relax and pay attention to the story.
Anna, played by Keira Knightley, enters the stage in a swirl of Russian furs and opulent jewels. She is on her way to her brother’s, to talk her sister-in-law Dolly into forgiving her husband for his tryst with the governess.
As she arrives, she meets Count Vronsky (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), and the sexual tension between the two is palpable through the screen.
Anna’s husband, Aleksei Karenin (Jude Law), is a respected and distinguished man. He holds a powerful position in the government, and everyone (at least within the aristocracy) likes him and commends him for the work he does for Russia.
He notices the intensity between his wife and Vronsky and issues several warning to Anna about proper conduct, which she does not heed. She tries to stay away from Vrnosky at first but is pulled to him and can’t control herself.
Anna loves her husband and her 9 year old son, but none of it is enough to fulfill her passionate desires, and she succumbs to her desires with Vronsky. Their affair is happy and unimpeded for a short while, but as the scandal becomes public and Anna keeps wanting more and more, she risks losing everything for the man she loves.
In an interview with CBS news, Knightley says that when she revisited the book, she felt that Anna was a much darker and less innocent character than she had remembered and therefore played her that way.
We come to know other characters, such as Levin and Kitty and their troubled romance, but as Tolstoy’s original novel is over 900 pages, the main plot line takes precedence and the countless Russian names aren’t too difficult to follow.
Anna Karenina gives us a strong, gutsy female lead set on the backdrop of 19th century Russia, making it a Worldette favorite.
How would you rate this latest film version of Anna Karenina? Give us your review in the comments below!