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Anna KareninaNew film adaptation


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#16 sandik

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 11:16 AM

It strikes me that this is a very post-modern version of the work, where the staging is fully as important as the story.

#17 Birdsall

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 07:02 PM

I'm planning to see it because the setting in the theater sounds interesting.




The horse race is even set in the opera house! You can't top that! LOL

I absolutely loved this version of Anna Karenina. I have recently re-read the book in anticipation of the movie, and the movie is pretty faithful for the most part even if some of the dialogue is different and the movie adds sex scenes as well as having many of the scenes take place in a theatre. I feel like it adds to the artifice of the lifestyle that the upper classes had to live. Many of Levin's scenes are outside in contrast. Anna is compared with Frou Frou (the horse) more obviously than in the book. I think most of the choices the director made "got it right" as far as creating the right mood for the scenes. I was also surprised at how I enjoyed the postmodern aspect of the movie. The only thing I didn't feel was right was the actor who played Vronsky. I don't find him handsome at all. Maybe others do. That was not the Vronsky I pictured in my mind, but all the other characters looked and acted very close to how I pictured in my mind, which might be why I loved the film.

#18 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 08:22 PM

The only thing I didn't feel was right was the actor who played Vronsky. I don't find him handsome at all. Maybe others do. That was not the Vronsky I pictured in my mind, but all the other characters looked and acted very close to how I pictured in my mind, which might be why I loved the film.


That would be Jude Law, right...? the one time carrier of the "Sexiest man alive" title...

#19 Birdsall

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 08:24 PM

No, Vronsky is Anna's lover. Jude Law played her husband. I thought he looked and acted the way I pictured Karenin to be. I did not picture Vronsky, however, to be blonde or the way he looked in the movie.

#20 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 08:26 PM

No, Vronsky is Anna's lover. Jude Law played her husband. I thought he looked and acted the way I pictured Karenin to be. I did not picture Vronsky, however, to be blonde or the way he looked in the movie.


Oh, I thought that he played Vronsky. Isn't Law too young to play Karenin...?

#21 Birdsall

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 08:30 PM


No, Vronsky is Anna's lover. Jude Law played her husband. I thought he looked and acted the way I pictured Karenin to be. I did not picture Vronsky, however, to be blonde or the way he looked in the movie.


Oh, I thought that he played Vronsky. Isn't Law too young to play Karenin...?


I thought he looked old enough for the role. I did not picture Karenin to be old. I pictured him in my head to be middle-aged. Jude Law is probably a little too young, but somehow the make up and glasses and beard helped him look close to what I pictured Karenin to look like in my head.

#22 dirac

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 12:53 PM

Saw this last night. Some good things, others much less so. The gimmick of staging the action in and out of a theater has mixed results (I began to expect that the actors would get hopelessly lost, Spinal Tap-style, and have to ask directions from a stagehand) and elsewhere Joe Wright borrows from Baz Luhrmann, again to mixed effect - scene after scene seems to be set up with musical cues for numbers that never happen and emotionally the movie never takes hold. Brechtian distancing is all very well, but when Anna's about to plunge under the train and you're checking your watch, it's not a good sign. Levin and Kitty get more screen time in this version, and one of the best scenes, but other plot points get dropped or elided to make room.

The downsizing of the great female roles to fit Miss Knightley continues apace and the progression from Garbo and Leigh to Marceau and Knightley leads one to question Darwin anew. This Anna is more overtly unsympathetic than usual, not a problem in itself and close to Tolstoy but Anna does have to have passion, and Knightley doesn’t have the weight to make lines like "Murderer. Murderer." and "I am damned" register. In period costume she often looks like she's playing dress-up. When emotional intensity is called for she does her usual jaw-jutting and baring of scary teeth. (With her mouth closed she can be gorgeous.) Law's softer, less authoritative husband is a better match up for her than previous movie Karenins – Rathbone would have subdued her with one curl of the lip and she would have melted down under the beady eye of Richardson. Law can't really do Bad in Bed - he's about as convincing as Warren Beatty confessing his impotence to Faye Dunaway - but he played against type very successfully here even if his jejune co-stars don't offer much in the way of competition.

Aaron Taylor-Johnson seems to have been cast to make Kieron Moore feel better, and his baby-faced Vronsky is so obviously on the make that you’d think even this flighty and neurotic Anna would dismiss him out of hand. (The cast is big on full-lipped starlets. I’m talking about the men.) Also his curly hair, moustache, and manner often reminded me, distractingly, of a younger Gene Wilder as Baron Frankenstein. Ex-Mr. Darcy Matthew Macfadyen as Oblonsky does come through.

#23 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 01:55 PM

My first and only encounter with Anna karenina in film was the 1967 Russian film with a wonderful Tatiana Samoilova in the title role-(and a young Maya Plisetskaya as Betsy)-, so she will be my point of comparisson with Knightley when I see this.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=38HoGKl4qX8

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#24 dirac

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 04:01 PM

I haven't seen that version, cubanmiamiboy, thanks. I will have to look it up. I actually went into the cinema resolved to judge Knightley on her own merits, but you see how it turned out. For the most part I wasn't mentally comparing-and-contrasting, except for the scenes with Anna and her son where invidious comparisons with Garbo were inescapable. I haven't seen another Anna on the big or small screens who matched her power of maternal feeling. Knightley seemed more like his big sister.

#25 Helene

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 04:57 PM

Also his curly hair, moustache, and manner often reminded me, distractingly, of a younger Gene Wilder as Baron Frankenstein.

Oh, that can't be a good sign. I had a hard enough time taking Vronsky seriously in the book.

#26 MakarovaFan

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 07:04 PM

Does anyone else recall the 1977 BBC "Anna Karenina"? Nicola Pagett's Anna is the best I've ever seen, as was Eric Porter's Karenin and Stuart Wilson's Vronsky.

#27 Birdsall

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 07:48 PM


Also his curly hair, moustache, and manner often reminded me, distractingly, of a younger Gene Wilder as Baron Frankenstein.

Oh, that can't be a good sign. I had a hard enough time taking Vronsky seriously in the book.


Yes, I think that actor was miscast. Dirac is right. I do not keep up with current actors, so I didn't know who any of them were except Jude Law. I knew the name Keira Knightly but had no idea who she was really. I literally stick to opera and ballet dvds on my computer!!! I watch movies occasionally but seldom know who anyone is (actors).

So Knightly did not bother me. I haven't noticed her omni-presence that others mention. She seemed so pretty and elegant. I felt that the love she had for her son was not the traditional maternal love, but I also didn't think the novel's characterization of Anna's love for her son was exactly the normal type either. For me it seemed that she always wanted what she could not have (Vronsky and her son while not appreciating Karenin or her daughter that she had with Vronsky....basically not longing for the people she could have in her life, instead longing for those she can't have) which is actually a pretty normal human thing. I've seen this behavior in many friends.

For me the biggest mistake the movie made was the "Gene Wilder" Vronsky, as Dirac names him. LOL

#28 Drew

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 09:07 PM

[...] the progression from Garbo and Leigh to Marceau and Knightley leads one to question Darwin anew.


This made me laugh on principle, but I'm afraid I actually haven't seen any of the Anna Karenina movies....but MakaravaFan--I DO remember Nicola Padgett as Anna in the television series and how much I loved her in the role.

Oddly (or not so oddly on this message board) my favorite embodiment of Anna Karenina is now Ekaterina Kondaurova in the admitedly not altogether successful Ratmansky ballet.

#29 dirac

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 06:30 AM

MakarovaFan and Drew, I have only the vaguest recollection of the BBC series with Pagett. I do remember that she was beautiful and touching but can't recall how she handled the more difficult aspects of the role. I'm willing to trust you both, though.

Garbo isn't at her best in either version (she did two, one a silent version with a happy ending (!?!) which miliosr discusses on another thread. Even when not at her best she still outclasses the field. I also thought Fredric March was a good Vronsky, not terribly sexy but otherwise very much the cavalryman Mashinka described upthread. (Vronsky is a womanizer and a tough customer but he still has to be carried away by Anna.)

I saw the Eifman version, not Ratmansky's, but this story is too complex for ballet IMO. Maybe Tudor or possibly Ashton could have come up with an interesting version. And let's not forget that Anna K. was also the basis for the epochal role Bancroft and MacLaine fight over in The Turning Point. :)

#30 Natalia

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 09:04 AM

The effeminate, creepy Vronsky ruined this film for me. How Anna gave-up her life for this little blonde curly-topped Joker is a puzzlement. This was miscasting of the worst order.

I also wondered why the guests at the ball kept practicing the Hula Dance with their arms and hands.

Did anyone else notice the use of the Bolshoi's painted-drapes curtain from its recent production of Paquita Grand Pas?


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