Today I present for your consideration Anna Karenina (2012, Rated R, available on DVD).
I am not a fan of the Russian writers, but for some reason, I'm fond of poor, foolish infatuated Anna Karenina; so I felt eager to see this movie. Furthermore, it was directed by Tom Stoppard, who directed The King's Speech, a movie I loved and thought very well made. Alert: I'm in error here. Tom Hooper directed The King's Speech. Tom Stoppard is one of the writers for Anna Karenina; it was directed by Joe Wright. Changes everything, doesn't it?
Anna (Keira Knightley) is married to the rather cold and pompous Count Alexei Karenin (Jude Law). The marriage doesn't seem very interesting or exciting, but Anna loves their son. Then Anna meets the dashing young Count Vronsky (Aaron Taylor-Johnson). Soon everyone is gossiping about their affair, and when Anna leaves Karenin for Vronsky, she loses her son and finds she is cast out by society.
I like this movie, and I don't.
The costumes are lavish and beautiful. The entire movie is stylishly choreographed. When Anna and Vronsky dance together for the first time at a ball, the other characters stop moving as we see the whirlwind romance beginning. As Anna and Vronsky dance past the other characters, the still dancers suddenly make a single movement in unison, indicating that, yes, they are there, but they are of little importance compared to the two people who are falling in love.
The sets are interesting, too. A horse race is acted out on stage, rather than on a track or in a field. The actors make visible movements from one set to another, but the viewer does not see the accoutrements of film making. Rather, the transfers have a flair and originality.
The overarching component of the film, however, is its rhythm. Office workers stamp papers loudly in unison and make the same movements, suggesting the dullness and repetition of the work. More important, though, is the rhythm of the train we see and hear in the most important scenes of the movie – when Anna first meets Vronsky at a train station and a man is killed by the train, and then again, when the train moves relentlessly as Anna meets her fate.
It's the acting in Anna Karenina that disappoints me. Jude Law is probably the best of the bunch. Keira Knightley is beautiful, but she's not Anna. I think it's that she doesn't have an aura of tragedy about her, and perhaps her acting skills simply weren't up to the part. Aaron Taylor-Johnson is simply awful as Vronsky. We have no reason to think that Anna would give up her son and the rest of her life for Vronsky, who looks kind of half-witted and has the most ridiculous dyed blonde curls on top of his dark hair.
This movie is definitely not for children. It would bore them. They'd whine, When will this be over? and you wouldn't be able to watch. Because I'm unhappy with the acting, but I like the style of the movie, I give Anna Karenina The Janie Junebug Kinda Sorta Seal of Approval.
I think someone out there will like it.
Infinities of love,
This was a movie I was interested in seeing, but after your review, maybe I won't. Have you read the book? If you did, how did you like it?ReplyDelete
Yes, I read the book long ago. Anna Karenina and Dr. Zhivago are the only two Russian novels I like.Delete
Dear Janie, I trust your reviews and this is a movie I'm not going to look at on Netflix. I just finished watching the 36 episodes of "Doc Martin." I'd never watched the series on PBS and I found it engrossing. The "Doc" is autistic, but highly functioning. There's a word for that that starts with "a" but I can't remember what it is. The actor is simply excellent. Peace.ReplyDelete
I've never heard of Doc Martin. I'll try to remember to check that out.Delete
After what I've been trough today, I'm going to see if I can find a good horror movie, just to make MY life look good by contrast.ReplyDelete
I recommend that you don't watch a movie with any medical procedures.Delete
I still have not seen this, I like Keira Knightley, so maybe I will check it out.ReplyDelete
Sadly, this is not Keira's best work, but that's my opinion. If you watch it, please let me know what you think of it.Delete
I think just the sets and style alone will make me want to see it. It's too bad it wasn't better cast-ReplyDelete
I really like the sets, costumes, and style. If those aspects of a film appeal to you, as they do to me, then it's worth seeing.Delete
I was wondering the same thing as Sherry. I think I'd rather read the book. It's a pity that all the hard work that went into the making of this movie came pretty much to nothing because of the disappointing acting/casting. Love your reviews by the way.ReplyDelete
Thanks, but I don't think it came to nothing. It's still interesting because of the style, sets, and costumes. If it came to nothing, I wouldn't give it my seal of approval in any form.Delete
Not recommended for children, huh? Guess I better forget about watching it with Smarticus, then. Just kidding! Actually, it doesn't sound like something either of us would enjoy. I read the book back in the Dark Ages, but don't remember much about it, other than I liked it, and my better half probably wouldn't. But the movie sounds a little too artsy fartsy for me.ReplyDelete
Happy weekend, kiddo!
You're so funny. Just the fact that you call him Smarticus is hilariously adorable. I can't wait to read your book!Delete
Reading this, I must compliment you on your reviews. You pick up things in movies that most of us wouldn't, or at least I wouldn't, and know how to get it down on paper. Well, not paper, but whatever these blogs are made of. I always enjoy and trust your reviews.ReplyDelete
Thank you very much, Inger. That means a lot to me. I took classes in college on writing film reviews and on film technique. I tend to analyze a movie the same way I would a poem.Delete
This one just didn't grab me when I saw it being advertised. I'll probably pass.ReplyDelete
Okay. You have The Janie Junebug Seal of Approval To Pass.Delete
I agree with Inger, you pick up things most of us don't, which is good since you have all of seals to give out.....I think I'm going to pass on this one, I'm more the science fiction/thriller type, so at least I can save my money on this one, Star TRek is coming-out!ReplyDelete
Thanks, Alex. I miss your blog. How are the chis?Delete
I started a new one....Delete
I was pretty neutral about the movie. One of those that didn't effect me one way of the other, I guess. If anything, for me, I'd tip it toward the lower end of the scale than the higher. Jude Law was the best of the lot, I'd agree. :)ReplyDelete
I guess neither one of us is really enthusiastic about it. I'd rather watch Downton Abbey.Delete