Duty or Love? Leo Tolsoy’s Anna Karenina novel has been brought to life on the silver screen by Joe Wright, with an all star cast including Keira Knightley, Jude Law, Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Kelly Macdonald.
It is late 19th Century Russia the film is set largely amongst the confines of a stage, we start with Anna (Keira Knightley) sadly leaving her husband and son at home to visit her brother Oblonsky (Matthew MacFadyen) who has been unfaithful to his wife with their Childs nanny. Convincing his wife Dolly (Kelly Macdonald) that in the name of love, that she should forgive him.
Levin (Domnhall Gleeson) comes to Oblonsky to talk of his love of the young Kitty (Alicia Vikander), Dolly’s younger sister and their new nanny. When Levin declares his love for Kitty however, he has his heart broken. Kitty has eyes for another, Count Vronsky (Aaron Taylor-Johnson).
There is a meeting of eyes between Karenina and Vronsky, and this is where things go pear shaped.
Dutiful wife becomes infatuated with a young Count Vronsky and we are taken on the journey of Anna’s tortured mind of whether she should remain faithful to her husband, Alexi Karenin (Jude Law) or follow her hearts desire.
The story goes on, documenting Anna’s infidelity, Karenin’s desire to keep appearances as normal as possible as to not disgrace Anna, until ultimately there is nothing to be done except acknowledge Karenina and Vronsky’s adulterous relationship, which is of course shunned by society.
Law’s portrayal of Karenin is by far the standout performance of the film. The costumes were without a doubt eye catching, however the segue between scenes is the standout, something that should definitely be commended as it was virtually flawless, carrying on with the story with no breaks in flow.
Personally however, I found myself more engaged in the story between Levin and Kitty, than I did between Karenina and Vronsky, but the movie was enjoyable nonetheless.