Wednesday, September 19, 2012

TIFF Film Review: Anna Karenina

It’s a treat to get lost in a period piece that is as lush and beautiful as Joe Wright’s Anna Karenina. Unlike his version of Pride and Prejudice, the pace is swift and we are swept into nineteenth century Russia with all of the intrigue and scandal that we are hoping Anna can escape from.  

Wright focuses mainly on the affair between Anna and Count Vronsky and the consequences of their actions. The Musical score is particularly effective in one dance scene where the volume increases and Anna and Vronsky take centre stage. Like them, we wish they could have it all. 

Keira Knightley succeeds in portraying Anna’s vulnerability and we sympathize with her predicament of being trapped between duty and her heart. The costumes and set pieces are perfect. There were parts that reminded me of My Fair Lady because of how creative the choreography is. The latter underlined the importance of everything being structured on the surface in terms of social mores and keeping the status quo.  

The cruelty of gossip, being judged and ostracized is keenly felt through Knightley’s Karenina. The film is also very effective in creating an atmosphere of always being watched. A woman had to know how to play a part and Anna can’t quite maintain appearances; that’s what we love her for.  It’s a sumptuous treat--four out of five cups of java for me. 

--- Leticia Cambre, blogs at

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