3/4

Anna Karenina [2012] ★★★

karenina-posterGranted that screen and tv adaptations of Leo Tolstoy’s most popular novel are nothing new, the last being a 2000 British version. And granted that the peak is still the 1935 movie starring Greta Garbo and Fredric March. But even the most faithful fans must allow that director Joe Wright, has given Tolstoy’s novel a beguilingly youthful spin without compromising the novel’s late-nineteenth-century manners. Is it an excellent adaptation? No. Does it stay true to the classic literary source and still seem fresh? The answer is yes. Keira Knightley, who made such a strong impression in both Wright movies “Pride and Prejudice” and “Atonement” gives us yet another solid performance as Anna, the woman who leaves her dull husband (Jude Law, almost unrecognizable) and her beloved son to experience unrestrained passion with the much younger Count Vronsky (Aaron Taylor- Johnson, a rising star). There’s nothing much to spoil here if you’ve read the novel. But Knightley and Johnson make a pair of ravishing romantics, giving the movie unexpected sizzle. Joe Wright has always been a filmmaker to watch in my opinion and once again he has reanimated a classic for a new generation. I suspect that no screen adaptation could ever completely satisfy Tolstoy purists, but this beautifully wrought film may do the next best thing: it just might inspire people to seek out the novel.

Rating: 3/4

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