After being excited about it for months, I finally watched Anna Karenina. And oh, it was so lovely. So, so lovely.
Disclaimer, I only read about a third of the book. I really enjoyed what I read, it’s just so damn long. I do plan on going back to it, and I did know the ending before seeing the movie.
Joe Wright, who also directed Atonement, did a really wonderful, interesting job with this movie. It was structured around a theater, and for much of the movie the characters were moving around and through a theater. With a story this big I think it’s important to have some kind of structure to hold it in place, and this one worked really well for me. The characters danced in and out of scenes, and I kept expecting them to break out into song. At some point the theater-ness dropped away, and that was when I started losing a little bit of interest.
My favorite scenes were probably the ones featuring the Kitty/Levin story line. There is a breathtaking scene at a ball where Vronsky and Anna dance, and it’s their first real transgression. They dance and everything else just falls away, the music slows down… and then it speeds back up, and we see Kitty grow more and more distressed as she realizes what is going on. That scene was my favorite part of the book, and I am so pleased that the movie managed to make it just as memorable.
So much of the movie is told without words. So much is done with body language, and looks. There is a wonderful scene between Levin and Kitty involving blocks. I would say 90% of the movie worked really, really well for me. There was a chunk towards the end that I started feeling my interest fade. Anna isn’t a likable person, especially towards the end, and it’s hard to keep a movie going through that.
After watching this, I’m really excited to dive back into the book, and then watch this again when I’m done.
These were probably my two favorite lines:
“I decided it was impossible. Kitty is of the heavens, an angel, and I am of the earth— but then I thought and thought, and . . . there’s no life for me without her!”
“I didn’t notice anything, myself. But I saw that everyone else noticed. I consider jealousy to be insulting to you and degrading to me”