From Book To Movie: Anna Karenina (2012)
As regular blog readers will know, I enjoy watching and discussing movies based on books and thought it would be a good idea to have an occasional feature where I talk about adaptations currently in the theaters.
Title: Anna Karenina
Adapted From: Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
I saw this film awhile ago but I never had a chance to post my thoughts about it. I thought it did a pretty good job of staying faithful to Tolstoy’s original novel, keeping to the story’s most essential points. However I will say that the emphasis is placed on certain events and also other smaller subplots are extended.
Set in late-19th-century Russia high-society, the aristocrat Anna Karenina enters into a life-changing affair with the affluent Count Vronsky.
Things I liked:
- It was just beautiful, the sets, the costumes,the way it was staged were all lush and gorgeous.
- I thought it was an interesting idea to make it almost like a Russian ballet brought to life, though it is jarring at first.
- The acting in general was good, my favorite performance coming from Matthew Macfadyen as Oblonsky.
- Jude Law was spectacular as Karenin, he took a character I hate in the book and really made me feel sorry for him.
I liked all the moments with Jude Law in this film. He really surprised me here with how much dimension he brought to the part of Karenin.
Things I disliked:
- I am probably going to anger some people with this but I am coming more and more to the conclusion that I don’t like Keira Knightley as an actress. I wish they would stop casting her in so many period dramas.
- As gorgeous as the film’s style is I think it sometimes overpowers its substance. The gorgeous visuals and choreography are certainly impressive but sometimes they distracted from a scene’s emotional content.
- I think the emphasis on the subplot with Levin and Kitty took away from the main plot with Anna and Vronsky.
I have mixed feeling about this film. I really thought it was visually inventive and interesting but some of the soul of the story is lost in this adaptation. I think the point of the novel is the hypocrisy of the society who condones adultery in private but condemns it in public but I am not sure that entirely comes across in this film. While I enjoyed this film on a purely aesthetic level but I wouldn’t recommend it to those wanting to learn more about the work of Leo Tolstoy.