Another day, another film resolution conquered! That’s right, I’ve got another guest here today for my Resolutions series, which is going swimmingly so far! Today’s resolution fulfiller? That would be the lovely Miss Kim of Tranquil Dreams, a blog which is officially celebrating its FOURTH ANNIVERSARY!! How awesome is that?! Congrats, Kim!! Be sure to go check out all her fantastic stuff and wish her the best! Anywho, time to see what Kim chose for her resolution. Take it away, lady!
There are ton of movies sitting around on my shelf or in Netflix that I’ve been meaning to watch forever (as I’m sure many of you do also). This is why Cara’s idea for this is absolutely genius! After much thought, I finally decided that it was time to watch a period drama. I like period dramas..a lot more when I was younger. Now its the drama part that bothers me so even though, I’m a Keira Knightley fan (when she does period dramas) and Jude Law, I’ve had Anna Karenina in my movie collection for a year or two, I’ve always chosen something else before it. So for Resolutions, I picked up the movie and gave it a shot.
Anna Karenina (2012)
Director: Joe Wright
Cast: Keira Knightley, Jude Law, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Matthew Macfadyen, Kelly MacDonald
Based on the classic novel by Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina (Keira Knightley) is about a St. Petersburg aristocrat married at a young age to firm Count Alexei Karenin (Jude Law). Although they had a son, their marriage wasn’t based on love. When her brother, Prince Oblonsky (Matthew Macfadyen) has an affair and his wife finds out and vows to never see him again, she goes to Moscow to ease their situation. That is when she meets a cavalry office, Count Alexei Vronsky (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), where their passion ignites the moment they look at each other. Although trying to resist at first, Anna eventually gives into an affair with Count Vronsky and starts her social downfall and tragic fate.
I love watching movie adaptation even though a lot of times they aren’t really comparable. Classic novels are one of the best ones to watch on screen. Although I have bought Anna Karenina (the novel), the length of the original source stops me every time from starting it. However, after seeing Anna Karenina (the movie), I have pulled the book out and its going to be in this year’s reading line-up, 963 pages, here I come. It will also be the longest book I will have read. Now that tangent is to say that I enjoyed Anna Karenina quite a bit. Of course, I can’t compare it to the actual work but as an individual piece, it was done really well. It also says that to squeeze 900+ pages into a 2 hours movie is really hard so even though I found some scenes to be a little choppy and abstract, there is no doubt that there is a lot of heart here. Plus, there are a few themes about society and love that really take a front seat.
Joe Wright is a really good director when it comes to period dramas (and its because I’ve only seen his period dramas). I’m a HUGE fan of Pride and Prejudice. The costume designs were beautiful and the idea of using one setting for all the scenes really adds a lot of fluid and uniform feeling to it. Its a stage where it reflects the story flowing graciously with the music changing from one scene to the next, just like a novel changed into a play. At the beginning, the changes are more noticeable but by the end, it really isn’t anymore. You recognize the similarities in each scene despite the transformation but it still somehow feels unique. Also, I loved the sweeping background music. It was all put together so well. Plus, he puts in a side story to contrast that of Anna Karenina’s and it was pretty sweet.
As for the performances, Keira Knightley never fails in these roles. She is made for these period drama roles. Her downfall as Anna Karenina was really captivating. Somehow she turns into somewhat of an anti-hero. I mean, for love, she gave up her son and her life literally falls apart because in the conservative society that she’s in, divorce is not really a thing plus, she cheated with another man, so that doesn’t win her any extra points either. Plus, in this whole thing, Count Vronsky seems to get off this really easy because although he gets the mess of Anna, the society doesn’t really say anything about him. This makes Anna’s character really sad to watch as she deteriorates from everything and turns a little delusional. Keira Knightley took that role really well.
Aside from that, the other two big roles was Jude Law as Count Karenin. Do I need to explain Jude Law’s acting awesomeness? I really don’t think so. He did a great job (maybe I’m bias) but I liked him a lot. However, I do like to talk about Aaron Taylor-Johnson. Sure, I’ve seen him as a nerdy guy in Kick-Ass and as an adolescent John Lennon in Nowhere Boy. Both very different from the roles he has now as Count Vronsky. The connection between Anna and Count Vronsky is irresistible to watch and my favorite scene has to be the dance scene. The music and the dance and just the charisma of the whole thing really shows the start of something crazy and bad all at the same time. I can’t help to think that after watching so many roles of his that are pretty good that I’ll be watching for his other acting projects.
Anna Karenina is a little lengthy but there are some fine performances here and an extremely brave use of turning the set of various locations with just the one space they use. The costumes and the music are very beautiful. The one little thing I thought about as I watched this movie was how this movie nails using a person’s name for the title (unlike the really bad Serena which was half the run time and only used half of it for Serena). Anna Karenina is the focus regardless of the people around her and we can connect and understand her social (and mental) downfall. This is a pretty heavy movie to watch just the length and the conflict and the ending. I don’t feel like I missed anything for not seeing this earlier but it definitely was a good movie that was worth my time 🙂
Sounds like this was a solid resolution, Kim! Glad that you thought this one was worthwhile! More resolutions will be coming your way soon, but tomorrow will actually see the return of a neglected segment on this blog…But you’ll see tomorrow. 😉