I won’t be offended if you don’t want to read this entire review. Tl;dr version: this movie sucks and do not see it. I would not see it again if you paid me because it is the single STUPIDEST thing I have ever seen in my entire life.
I admit, I was skeptical when I first found out about the 2012 film adaptation of Anna Karenina. I did not like the casting of Keira Knightley as Anna – she is not my favorite actress, and I do not imagine the character looking like her. However, after seeing this horrid film, I wish to say that my worries were unfounded. Keira Knightley actually did a decent job, considering what she had to work with, and I did not mind her in this role.
The day before I saw the film, I found out that British playwright Tom Stoppard wrote the screenplay. I do not particularly care for Stoppard’s work, so I was a bit apprehensive, but I ignored my apprehension and saw the film anyway. I so wish I had listened to my instincts, because not only did I waste my money on this film, but I wasted two hours of my life that I will never be able to have back.
Anna Karenina is by far the worst film I have ever seen in my entire life (and I’ve seen quite a few movies in my day).
First issue: the casting of the two men in Anna’s life. To whomever handled the casting: do you seriously expect us to believe that Anna would leave her husband Alexei Karenin, who looks like this:
…for this foolish dandy, Alexei Vronsky? (Hint: Tolstoy wouldn’t have believed it either, which is why Vronsky is, you know, actually attractive in the book.)
Please. That aspect alone was completely unbelievable.
As if this terrible miscasting wasn’t enough, Tom Stoppard pulled out all the stops in writing an incredibly weird screenplay: the movie is filmed as if it is a play. Yes, you read that correctly: there is a stage, a backstage, even a catwalk area, and all the characters wander around this stupid setting for the entire duration of the film. When Anna goes to the horse races, the horses run by… across a stage! When Vronsky is thrown from his horse and the horse falls, they fall together… off a stage!
At the end, when Karenin mildly observes his son and adopted daughter (who is Vronsky and Anna’s child), the camera pulls back so we can see that the beautiful Russian field they’re playing in is – you guessed it – on a stage!!!
Aren’t you just so overwhelmed with artistic fervor right now? It’s amazing – an entire novel, filmed as a movie, but taking place on a freaking stage! I, for one, was greatly annoyed. (Even writing this scathing review is making me so angry right now.) I cannot fully convey in words how incredibly inane this movie was. I must have looked at my watch fifty times in two hours. By the end, I didn’t even care that Anna had committed suicide – I was just glad because I knew the film would soon be over.
It is terrible how this work of Russian literature was ruined. I expected better from director Joe Wright (he has made some really good films in the past). My theory is that Tom Stoppard ruined it with his idiotic screenplay, but who really knows what happened.
Universal Pictures, my mom and I want our seventeen dollars back.