Film Review: Anna Karenina
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3/5 Joe Wright’s Anna Karenina has been hotly anticipated. Why? There are probably a few reasons. Tolstoy’s novel is a classic, obviously - and we’re all suckers for a historical tragedy we can pretend to weep over. The often-derided Keira Knightly has perfected the (challenging?) role of distressed female in period costume. And of course, no one can resist a good love story. Is Anna Karenina a good love story? In terms of the 864-page novel, I assume so. I won’t pretend I’ve read it in any kind of depth. But this film, squeezed into just over two hours and starring the aforementioned Knightly as Anna, Jude Law as her husband, and Aaron Taylor-Johnson as her lover, Count Vronsky? Hmm. I had a few slight problems with Joe Wright’s interpretation. Without a doubt, the film is beautiful. The decision to make it a play within a play gives a lyrical quality from the opening seconds, and perfectly reflects the courtly society of aristocratic, tsarist 1870s Russia. All of our characters, from the beginning, are playing a part. Our title character sits on a train and questions whether it is better to regret something rather than never having the opportunity in the first place. Later, we see how starkly different her role as St Petersburg society wife is to her actual desires.
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