April 11, 2013

Anna Karenina - The Movie

Anna Karenina

Well hello there! This is very unusual! I don't think I've ever reviewed a movie, but this one, oh, this one I simply must. It HAS been based off of a book, so I think it's a good excuse, right? ;)

I've watched Anna Karenina during Easter and I thought it was AWESOME. The story, of course, being a huge classic, was to be expected - happy and sad, passionate, beautiful, tragic, impressive, emotional... Tragic and sad. Like, double, triple, tragic and sad.

The story is both simple and complex. On a trip to her brother's house in Moscow, Anna meets Count Vronsky and feels this weird and amazing attraction, borderline crazy. Although I can't understand why, maybe on the book he's described in a more... Attractive manner, but the actor, not so much - specially the mustache. Anna (Keira Knightley) is married to Karenin (Jude Law), who is an important senator or something, at the government (sorry, I'm not sure about the proper position/term) and they have a son. Anna resists temptation for two reasons - one, the obvious, she is a faithful and loyal wife in the 1870's Russia, second, her brother's wife's sister is in love with Vronsky and was expecting a proposal for him on the very night he meets Anna at a ball.

Anna goes back to St. Petersburg and Vronsky goes after her, follows her around all parties and get togethers where she goes. Eventually, everyone is noticing. He's getting ridiculous. He's offered a promotion and asks her if she wants him to go... But no, of course. She can't accept and can't give in. It's a beautiful, terrible and heartbreaking decision. When her husband confronts her saying that, maybe, without noticing, she's given people reason to talk she replies "it's too late", because (and she doesn't say that, but you can feel it) she didn't only give people reason to talk, she's given her heart, her mind and soul to Vronsky (despite the terrible mustache - no really, what's with the mustache?).

I won't go into more detail on the story, but I have to say, I haven't felt this passionate about a movie in a while, I'm usually very drawn to musicals (Rent, Chicago, Phantom of the Opera), but I managed to even dream about Anna Karenina.

Keira Knightley is amazing, beautiful, passionate, crazy. She can translate the character so beautifully, with her faces and looks and the way she can change from rage to love.

I didn't like Vronsky, I must say, the mustache bothered me, but more than anything, he felt... Conquering. I mean, Anna was always doubting him and thinking he was going to find someone else, but he wasn't exactly emotional. I felt like he was only worried about defying the other people, trying to be a rebel, in love with a married woman, but decided to get her all to himself. When she surrenders to him, he still seems to be defying the whole world that thinks they don't belong together... But when all the new wears off and Anna starts getting a little bit ... Off. He seems to distance himself - he isn't judged by society, he is a man after all - his friends don't distance themselves, he's still invited to parties and all that, people still want to marry him. He's not disgraced, but she is.

Karenin is a complex character. Even after knowing his wife's lover, he's still with her and refuses to divorce her. It's a shame for him, he tries to pretend all is normal out of love. For her, for their child, for everything. Without marriage with him, she would be disgraced and would never see their son again. Jude Law is fantastic as Karenin, the emotion he tries not to show but does, the shame and confusion, the pain.

I'm eager to get to the book, I'm sure it'll be beautiful, but I'm glad I watched the movie first, as I'll never be able to forget Keira and Jude's performance as Anna and Karenin.