Drama Film “Anna Karenina” Hits Theaters

Focus Fetuares has released an interactive trailer of the big screen adaptation, drama film Anna Karenina  directed by Joe Wright that is adapted from Leo Tolstoy’s 1877 novel. It stars Keira Knightley, Jude Law, and Aaron Taylor-Johson.

Joe Wright (“Pride and Prejudice”) reunites with his on-screen muse, Keira Knightley, who plays the Russian aristocrat, trapped in a loveless marriage. Karenina then finds herself in the passionate throes of adultery with Count Vronsky (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), who urges Anna to leave her marriage and begin a new life with him.

The story unfolds in its original late 19th century Russia high-society setting and powerfully explores the capacity for love that surges through the human heart, from the passion between adulterers to the bond between a mother and her children. As Anna Karenina questions her happiness, change comes to her family, friends, and community.

“My God, he hates her!” Keira Knightley observes of Tolstoy’s attitude toward Anna Karenina. Rereading the book in preparation for playing Anna on screen in Joe Wright’s new film, Knightley was struck by the sheer animosity that the Russian author had for the heroine of his novel.

The Independent wrote: ” Wright has taken a stylised approach to his material, setting the majority of the film in a theatre on the grounds that the Russian aristocrats “were living their lives as if they were on a stage”. He has talked about the film as portraying love in all its manifestations. Knightley excels as the beautiful socialite whose destructive love affair with Count Vronsky leads eventually to her ruin and suicide. When we first see her, she is self-assured and seemingly worldly-wise. She advises her sister-in-law Dolly (Kelly Macdonald) to stay loyal to her husband Oblonsky in spite of his philandering ways and gives Dolly’s younger sister advice about how to behave at the ball. Then Vronsky begins his aggressive courtship. Knightley expertly depicts the transformation in Anna’s character: how she at first flirts with the cavalry officer and is flattered by his attention but then how she soon becomes utterly in thrall to him. She humiliates her earnest husband Karenin (Jude Law) and is turn spurned by him.”

The film has received positive to mixed reviews, from critics. It currently has a Metacritic rating of 67 out of 100, indicating “generally favourable reviews” from critics, with most praising the cast (particularly Knightley) and the production design but criticizing the script and Wright’s apparent preference for ‘style over substance’.

Oliver Lyttleton of The Playlist awarded the film a B+ and called the picture a “bold re-imagining” of the classic novel, comparing Wright’s vision to the films of Powell and Pressburger. He noted how Knightley “continues to go from strength to strength” and also praised Law as “excellent.” Even though he speculated that “the film is going to divide people enormously”, he concluded it was one to “cherish despite its flaws”n .IaFreer of Empire awarded the film four stars out of five and was effervescent in his praise for Wright and the final result: he said “Anna Karenina militantly doesn’t want to be just another costume drama; it attacks the heavyweight concerns of Russian literature (hypocrisy, jealousy, faith, fidelity, the pastoral vs. the urban, huge moustaches) with wit and verve; most exciting of all, it is filmmaking of the highest order, channeling every other art form from painting to ballet to puppetry while remaining completely cinematic”.

In The Observer Jason Solomons also called Knightley “superb”, and declared that the film “works beautifully…[it is] elegant and exciting [and] …incredibly cinematic”. Leslie Felperin of Variety was more reserved in her praise for the film, observing that although Wright “knows how to get the best from Knightley” and noting that the film was technically “glorious”, it was also “unmistakably chilly” in the storytelling.The Mirror singled out Knightley as “excellent” and lauded Wright for “offer[ing] a fresh vision of the Tolstoy classic”, concluding the picture to be “with its beautiful cinematography and costumes… a real success”.

” Almost 150 years after Tolstoy wrote his novel, she continues to divide opinion and resist easy categorization. Tolstoy’s own attitude toward her is still fiercely debated. No performance as Anna, not even one with the raw voltage that Knightley brings to the part, will ever be definitive”, The Independent said.”

Anna Karenina” hits theaters on November 16.

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