|Aaron Taylor-Johnson as Count Vronsky and Keira Knightley as Anna Karenina|
As with Tom Hooper's Les Misérables, I went into this movie without knowing what to expect. Namely, the fact that nearly all of the scenes are performed on theatrical set pieces. Like clockwork, the sets are swapped and modified to represent travel or a change in mood, yet the actors never leave the huge, intricate webwork of beautifully designed sets. In fact, in several cases, they walk through the rafters of a theater to illustrate a walk through crowded, dirty streets or a train platform. Anna Karenina kept my attention largely for this reason; it was uniquely designed and simply fascinating to watch.
The costumes were equally gorgeous (in fact, costume designer Jacqueline Durran was nominated for an Oscar for her work). I don't know much about the clothing of imperial Russia, but there were some fur hats and beautiful gowns that certainly had the aesthetic caliber of Oscar-winning designs.
|Why, yes, that is the Russian president. See what I did there?|
Meanwhile, Anna's brother's friend Konstantin pines for Princess Kitty, who believes Vronsky loves her. After he abandons Kitty for Anna, she realizes that Konstantin (who actually loves her) might not be so bad after all. Their love story is truly sweet, particularly the scene in which she agrees to marry him at last, and I enjoyed their scenes more than Anna's and Vronsky's. They (Anna and Vronsky) were entirely caught up in their own good feelings and lust, with no regard whatsoever for morality or society's demands. In fact, one of Anna's friends puts it this way: "It would be different if she broke the law. But she broke the rules." (See? There are some rules that are just understood, whether you're a Christian or not. Hmm ...)
|Yeah, that was my expression when I saw your mustache, too.|
Final scoring for Anna Karenina: 4 /5. Beautiful movie. Moderately acted. I keep a star.