Winter 2013 Features series
Sunday, February 3, 2013 at 4:00pm
Sunday, February 3, 2013 at 7:00pm
Directed by Joe Wright
Screenplay by Tom Stoppard
Based on the book by Leo Tolstoy
Starring Keira Knightley, Jude Law, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, and
Rated NR ·
Following the success of Atonement and Pride & Prejudice, director Joe Wright reunites with Keira Knightley for this lush and atmospheric adaptation of Leo Tolstoy’s classic novel. Scripted by acclaimed British playwright Tom Stoppard (Shakespeare in Love), this Anna Karenina is a powerful and stylistically daring version of this epic love story about two people who defy the conventions of their age to follow the desires of their hearts.
Set against the richly textured canvas of late nineteenth-century Russian high society, Anna Kareninachronicles the doomed affair between the sensuous and rebellious Anna (Knightley, A Dangerous Method,Last Night) and dashing army officer Count Vronsky (Aaron Johnson, Nowhere Boy, Albert Nobbs). Trapped in a loveless marriage to Count Karenin (Jude Law, Hugo), a prominent government official twenty years her senior, Anna is flattered when she attracts the attention of the charismatic Vronsky. Although Anna initially rejects Vronsky’s advances, the couple’s powerful mutual attraction only intensifies. When Anna eventually succumbs to her desires, she soon finds herself torn between her happiness and the rigid demands of society.
In a brilliantly neo-Brechtian twist, director Wright sets Anna and Vronsky’s tragic tale against a blatantly theatrical backdrop, with stagehands changing the sets as the star-crossed lovers play out their fateful romance. Anchored by Knightley’s commanding performance, and featuring an impressive supporting cast that includes Emily Watson (War Horse, Oranges and Sunshine), Kelly Macdonald (Boardwalk Empire, No Country for Old Men), Domhnall Gleeson (True Grit, Never Let Me Go) gorgeously rendered adaptation of the literary classic.
“There are numerous reasons to welcome, if not cherish, Joe Wright’s adaptation of Tolstoy’s 1873 socialite-shags-a-soldier doorstop. Despite eye-popping period finery, longing looks a-plenty and Olympic standard fan waving, 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. This is really its director’s movie. Bold, imaginative, thought-provoking and passionate, Anna Kareninaputs Wright at the forefront of filmmaking in Britain. Or anywhere. If it doesn’t ultimately engage your heart as it might, Anna Karenina is period drama at its most exciting, intoxicating and modern. Spellbinding.” (Ian Freer, Empire)
“Both fascinatingly theatrical and thrillingly cinematic, a picture that’s lingered on our minds more than we expected.” (Oliver Lyttelton, The Playlist)