A story based on Russian writer Leo Tolstoy’s novel that was first printed in the periodical called “The Russian Messenger” that depicts a love triangle between a married aristocrat’s social wife and a wealthy count that turns into a tragedy. This forbidden love affair changes the course of a women’s life that may end her relationship with her husband and possibly destroy her stature in high society. The film is based on three different relationships that make the foundations of the story and lead Anna to her eventual destiny.
The first relationship starts with Dolly (Kelly MacDonald), the wife of civil servant Stepan Oblonsky (Matthew Macfadyen), who has a dull life while her husband is a man about town. He has secret love affairs that Dolly suspects and she wonders if she should leave him. This seems to affect her throughout the story.
The main story involves ‘Anna Karenina’ (Keira Knightley), the wife of senior statesman Alexei Karenin (Jude Law), who is a socialite of St. Petersburg and Moscow. She begins a forbidden love affair with Calvary Officer Count Alexei Vronsky (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) that shocks their community and which may irreversibly damage her relationship with her husband.
The final relationship includes Kitty (Alicia Vikander), the younger sister of Dolly who just turned 18 and is ready to be shown to the world. She has an infatuation for Count Alexei Vronsky that interferes with Konstantin Levin’s (Domhnall Gleeson) desires to marry her. Konstantin is always looking for the right time to ask Kitty, but seems to find an excuse not to ask her to share his love.
Director Joe Wright (‘Atonement’, ‘Pride and Prejudice’, ‘Hanna’, and ‘The Soloist’), brought an interesting way to portray Leo Tolstoy’s novel by performing a play on film. The story takes place on a stage that is played out with blended transitions. At some point it becomes hard to comprehend his transitions to future events and loses some of the story.
A very good film that gets disrupted with the scene transition and cinematography used to portray this story. The scene transition took away from the flow, and sometimes made it hard to follow what was happening. As for the story, it has an excellent plot with great acting throughout and displays a down leading spiral to its final tragic end.
Final Grade: I give this a C+, for its excellent acting and fantastic storyline.
Cast: Keira Knightley, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Kelly Macdonald, and Jude Law
Director: Joe Wright
Writer: Tom Stoppard (screenplay), Leo Tolstoy (novel)
Runtime: 130 minutes (2 hours and 10 minutes)
MPAA Rating: Rated R for some sexuality and violence
Production Company: Universal Pictures, Focus Films, and Working Title Films
Release Date: November 16th, 2012