In a word: Exquisite.
It’s rare I would ever leave a movie hoping to see it again sometime. Such is the case of Anna Karenina, the Tolstoy saga now put to film for the third time since 1948.
While the film has been rightly nominated for four Academy Awards, (Cinematography, Costumes, Music and Production Design) it is conspicuous by absence for not being among the ten nominees for Best Picture. It should be up there with Lincoln and Argo, perhaps even surpassing each.
This movie has it all, great acting, deep romance, spectacular cinematography and visual effects, haunting refrains of music reminiscent of “Zhivago”, incredible imagery and beauty.
The story brings us back to Russia in 1874 where the dutiful wife of a government minister falls in love with a handsome young soldier. The minister (Jude Law) is beside himself with embarrassment and indignance, finding himself powerless to matter. Law is almost unrecognizable in this character, his best acting role to date.
Anna’s role is played skillfully and beautifully by Keira Knightly, a breathtaking beauty who makes you feel alive with passion, love and mystery, yet boldly candid and unashamed of her passion for Vronsy (Aaron Taylor-Johnson). That’s a love story similarly told in many films, yes. But this is absent the scourge of constant violence and graphic sexual content. Rather, it is tender and soulful. The director, Joe Wright, presents the story as life is a stage, literally. You’d have to see it to understand.
At the least this picture should also have been among nominees for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actress.
This is what movie-making is all about, art in motion and sound. It is not just a movie, it is in a word: Exquisite.
I give this film a rare 10.