This past weekend I went with several of my friends to see the most recent film adaptation of Anna Karenina at the Carlisle Theatre. I was very glad that the movie was playing there, because due to the limited release, I had missed the run of it at my local theater when I was home for break. Despite the fact that other movie theaters may have digital projectors, or other fancy things, I really like that the Carlisle Theatre does not, especially when watching period films. Because of all of these factors and my fond remembrance of the novel, I was greatly looking forward to seeing this movie. Perhaps my expectations were too high.
There were definitely things I liked about the movie. I am not sure what the film terms are, but I found the cinematography and scenic design to be amazing. I even liked the way that the scenes transitioned and how it was set on a stage, but it was so mesmerizing that it took away from the character development.
Upon reaching the end of the movie however, I felt no connection to any of the characters, even at the end,when *SPOILER ALERT* Anna jumps under a train. This neglect starts at the beginning. The dance scene when Anna and Vronsky leave the rest of the ball behind is beautiful, and it is very similar to a scene with Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy in the director’s adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, but Anna and Vronsky lack the tension that Elizabeth and Darcy had. The director is trying to employ the same effect and make this a pivotal moment in their relationship, but he didn’t build it enough. It was more like they decided that since they had danced a lot, they might as well have an affair, so that the plot can continue.
The Levin/Kitty storyline worked a lot better, though I was unhappy with the marriage proposal scene at the end. It seemed too prompted and lacked the magically unspoken understanding that the book portrayed, but it was sweet.
For the most part I liked the casting, especially Oblonsky, but I am deeply unhappy with the choice of Keira Knightly for Anna, and nothing will change my mind about that. Full disclosure: I hated her as Elizabeth Bennet too, so this is probably just a stupid personal prejudice against an otherwise fine actress, but it nonetheless affected my satisfaction with her portrayal of Anna.