Anna Karenina - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Anna Karenina Reviews

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August 18, 2015
not the best version of this.
Super Reviewer
May 29, 2015
I can't tell you how faithful this opulent version of the classic tragedy is, but it was very highly regarded compared to other film versions according to reviews I read. What I can tell you should come as no surprise - squeezing 600 pages into two hours and change results in much collateral damage to the material. One peerless aspect of the production is the sense of time and place, filmed entirely in Moscow and Saint Petersburg which is where Tolstoy's story unfolds to the stirring swells of Rachmaninoff and Tchaikovsky on the soundtrack. A very interesting choice involves the language. The actors in all the major roles speak English with their native accent, which is the way to go if you can't get the dialog in the original tongue. Nothing sounds phonier than actors speaking English with a Russian accent to try and convey that they are actually speaking Russian. But to add to the sense of immersion, director Bernard Rose hired many Russians for the minor roles and subtitled their speech. The lead actors even say a couple lines in Russian to add to the authenticity. Overall, I found these tactics unusual but very effective. Nevertheless, while I love Sophie Marceau and feel she has the capacity to successfully play Anna speaking her native tongue, something goes missing in her English interpretation. Obviously the producers felt confident in hiring her to star in this extravagantly expensive venture, which is a testament to the international appeal she showed in her role in Braveheart. There are certainly other problems in evidence - I didn't feel much sympathy towards Anna and the Duke Vronsky, never been a sucker for undying love at first sight, and I felt they rather deserved what they got, Anna's extreme fateful decision notwithstanding. Also the story of Alfred Molina's character Levin must have been important to the social commentary of the book, but his scenes seem completely independent to the events in the rest of this movie, and thus his usual quality performance is rendered inconsequential. On the whole this is a version worth watching for the unprecedented authenticity of the production which helps cover the gaps of emotional resonance.
½ April 23, 2014
It was good to learn this famous story in a much shorter version than the book! I did find the attraction between Anna and count vronsky a bit artificial but I did like the way Marceau portrayed how she was upset. I couldnt see the love in kitty's eyes either. It was a good film though. Even at home without surround sound the extremes in noise levels seemed obvious and too much for some reason.
½ April 11, 2013
I loved this as much as the latest adaptation starring Keira Knightley!!!
September 25, 2012
Oyuncu sešimleri Tolstoy'un eseriyle genelde uyumlu. Ama bu kadar uzun bir eseri 108 dakikaya s??d?rmaya šal???nca, film kitab?n k?sa bir ÷zeti gibi olmu?. Yine de fena de?il.
August 20, 2012
meehhhh...hope the 2012 remake is a better one
June 25, 2012
Sophie Marceau is stunning as Anna Karenina; I found her enchanting from the start.
½ March 23, 2012
A pretty face just isn't enough to make a good movie. This one was a rather dull experience.
½ February 24, 2012
'Anna Karenina' is one of those many classic novels that has countless adaptations ... well, maybe not as much as 'Jane Eyre' or every Jane Austen novel ever written, but there are still many of them. Although there's an upcoming adaptation set to be released later on this year, the 1997 version was the most recent film adaptation to be made up until the one that's still yet to be released. Given the fact that it was recent compared to some of the much older adaptations, I wondered why not many people talked about it. It doesn't have a consensus on Rotten Tomatoes and there isn't even that much information about it on Wikipedia. Well, after watching this adaptation, I can definitely see why it has fallen into obscurity. It's because it deserves it.

This film is set in Russia in the 1880s and focuses on Anna Karenina (which is pronounced Ka-RE-nina, not Ka-re-NEE-nah), a woman stuck in a loveless marriage with a husband who cares more about how he's perceived. When a charming man named Count Vronsky tries to pursue her, she initially resists him but then plunges into a deep affair with him, causing both of them to suffer the serious consequences of adultery.

This film fails on its own, but mainly it's faulted for being a bad adaptation of a great novel. The actors were miscast, the story was over-simplified and the film was pretty short for an adaptation of a novel that's over 900 pages. First of all, I'll start with the casting. Sophie Marceau is completely miscast as Anna. Anna in the book is a complex, flawed but somewhat sympathetic character, whereas the film portrayed her as a little-miss-perfect Mary-Sue who suddenly goes crazy, and she doesn't seem to care about who she hurts around her. Sophie Marceau's performance was pretty flat and lifeless, and the same can be said for James Fox as Karenin. Karenin in the book was a three dimensional character who was deeply flawed, but at the same time the reader could see where he was coming from due to the time era he was raised in. The film portrayed him as a one dimensional villain without a conscience. As for Vronsky, Sean Bean had the right amount of charm to play such a character, but it was the writer's fault for changing the way he was written. In the book, Vronsky isn't perfect, given that he's broken hearts in the past and towards the end, he begins to question whether he is truly in love with Anna or not. In the film, he's a hopeless romantic who doesn't have any real faults other than his inability to see why having an affair with a married woman is a bad thing. The only actor in it who I thought was cast well and captured the spirit of their character was Alfred Molina as Levin. He was the stand-out performance in the movie. Apart from him though, the film takes otherwise interesting, realistic characters and turns them into stereotypes.

I would say that after the casting and the way the characters were portrayed, the biggest problem with the movie was how it changed the story. I understand that sometimes, creative licences have to be taken because some things work in books but not on film, and there's also the issue of time. However, this adaptation of 'Anna Karenina' also changed the overall meaning of the original story, especially with the disintegration of Anna and Vronsky's relationship. We see that in the book, Anna is suffering because she isn't able to see her son and when she goes on a trip to Italy with Vronsky, she is still not happy because they frequently get into fights and they have incompatible goals. She also kills herself mainly to spite Vronsky, once again showing how faulted her character is, but the movie doesn't address this. In general, the breakdown of their relationship in the book is caused not only because of societal taboos against divorce, but mainly because Anna and Vronsky ultimately aren't right for each other. They're too different. The film however, neglected this and instead portrayed their romance as a simple love story without exploring the deeper issues present in the book.

Overall, it looked as if whoever made the film didn't read the book but just skimmed through it. It seemed as if they went 'Who cares about complexity? This is a Hollywood film! Let's just make it a soap opera and bring in the money!' Ugh. I'm pretty sure that somewhere in Russia, Leo Tolstoy is rolling in his grave.
February 22, 2012
Pour Tcha¤kovsky & les robes ...
December 10, 2011
Recommended by (Enchanted...) Sue.
November 30, 2011
Solid and mostly engrossing Leo Tolstoy adaptation with the convincing and expressive Sophie Marceau and Sean Bean. What on earth happened to the former?
August 19, 2011
Sophie Marceau and Sean Bean's appearances fitted the characters Anna Karenina and Vronsky, respectively. But it wasn't that emotional, passionate Anna whom i read in the book. The movie version Anna was too dull and quite. And Anna never loses her mind like talking to the doll like her daughter. I don't mind changes in the story as long as they don';t ruin the storyline. But this change was too much. Anna only gets mad toward the end of the book because of the jealousy.
December 6, 2010
The magnum opus in Cliff's Notes versions. Attempted truncation of Levin's story seems tacked-on. Opulent and lavish, but feels unfinished and hurried.
October 10, 2010
Love life is not absolute, and can be destructive when it is too emotional about it.
July 18, 2010
Pour Tcha¤kovsky & les robes ...
May 10, 2010
Just perfect !!!!!!!!!!!!!
½ April 3, 2010
Love the movie...I want to read the book now
March 19, 2010
This was very boring, I like this story by Tolstoy, but this wasn't a great adaptation of it.
½ November 17, 2009
Creo que no la vi completa, pero recuerdo que me gust├│, a pesar del final que todos conocemos... Tendr├ę que rentarla un d├şa de estos.
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