By Karina Stephens

A group of great actors and great performances alike in this grippingly suspenseful, emotion-filled, tragic movie, “Anna Karenina”.  The movie is based off of the 1000+ page novel written in the 19th century by Leo Tolstoy.  The movie is rated R for the various sexual scenes.  There is no actual nudity, but the movie is very risqué, not intended for anyone under 16.

Keira Knightley plays Anna. This is not her first movie portraying an old-fashioned literary character, and she again does a great job getting into her role.  Seeing her play in “Atonement”, “The Duchess”, “Pride and Prejudice”, and now this movie proves she can handle challenging roles where she has to be very in-tune with her character.

Knightley plays alongside other big-star actors such Jude Law (in the movie, Karenin, Anna’s husband), Mathew Macfadyen (Anna’s brother), and Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Anna’s love affair, Count Vronsky).  The cast works well together to show the emotion and true heartbreaks and heartaches in this movie.

Law gives an awesome, very believable performance as Anna’s husband and the one who is heartbroken from her behaviors and “dishonor.”  It is clear that Anna and her husband are not in love, at least from Anna’s side.  The marriage seems to be more of a status symbol to her husband because he is a big wig in the Russian government trying to move up the ladder, so he tries to portray himself to the public as a well-rounded man with a perfect life.

Anna falls in love with Vronsky, and him with her, though he is supposed to be set up with a much younger girl from Moscow, Kitty (played by Alicia Vikander).  It starts as soon as Anna and Vronsky’s eyes meet for the very first time.  The audience can tell something is in the air between the pair right away.  Since in these days, marriages were often arranged or parents pushed someone on their daughter or son to marry, Anna never felt this type of love with her husband, Karenin.

Affairs or being dishonorable in any way in the 1800s was heavily frowned upon and people immediately began to talk about Anna and Vronsky.  She ignored what they said and dismissed her husband’s fears initially to avoid drama, while also trying to get Vronsky out of her mind.  It is a tragic tale or true love and the obstacles that could have come with it back then.  Many people did not believe in true love or “romantic love” and thought it could never happen.

The movie has a true 1800s feel to it, with everything from the clothes, trains, atmosphere, rooms, and style relating very well to exactly how it would have been when the events in this movie took place.  The exquisite, huge dresses, dancing scene, and everything revolving around it really portrayed the era well and have the feel of actually being in that time.

The language took a few minutes to get used to.  Of course, it is not modern, but not completely from the 1800s, either.

The transitions from scene to scene were also very hard to follow and really did not come together until the very end.  It was an interesting strategy and showed many creative ways to go from one scene to the next or from one character’s life to another, but it was hard to follow what was going on with the often very abrupt changes.  This is a movie that takes undivided attention from start to finish in order to follow the plot.

Similar to “Romeo and Juliet” in ways that true love can never be left alone and will always stir up unsettled feelings and emotions.  Overall, a recommended, great movie that accurately shows the events that occurred in Russia in the 19th century regarding Anna Karenina and everyone around her.


Russian tragedy enjoyable, yet hard to follow