Most of us know this story; written by Tolstoy and set in late 19th century Russian high society, married Anna Karenina enters into an affair with Count Vronsky to devastating and life altering results.
The idea for Anna Karenina apparently was born when Tolstoy arrived at a railway station shortly after a young woman had committed suicide. The original work was published in instalments from 1873 to 1877.
Tolstoy himself (writer of War and Peace) came from a well-known, old Russian family. He was born in 1828 and died in 1910. He married Sophia and they had 13 children, although they were not happy in their later years—and so he knows a little something about love perhaps.
If you are expecting to see the usual film version of a classic, be prepared for something entirely different. This is a fanciful interpretation of a multi-layered plot that to me is more about forgiveness than it is about love.
The acting is impeccable with Keira Knightly (Anna) and Jude Law (Karenin) magnificent, Matthew Mcfadyn as Oblonsaky and Aaron Taylor-Johnson as Count Vronsky are just as memorable.
I will say however, that when I heard that Robert Pattinson was considered for the role of Vronsky, I thought this would have been a better pairing with the feisty Anna.
Some audience members may be confused by the object in the oblong box that Karenina pulls out in the bedroom scenes.
This was a condom, likely made of an animal or plant based material – it actually wasn’t until the mid-1800s that the first rubber vulcanized condom was produced (likely why Tolsoy had 13 children, but I digress).
As I said, this story has many facets and many sub plots and twists, but suffice to say that this is likely not a man’s film, so go with a girlfriend—the costumes and scenery are worth the price of admission alone.
I liked it. Not one of the most memorable films, but if you haven’t had the chance to read the book, do so, it is a special piece of literature.
I give Anna Karenina three reels.
My Oscar picks are: For Best Actor—Daniel Day-Lewis for Lincoln; Best Actress—Jessica Chastain for Zero Dark Thirty.