The film adaptation of Leo Tolstoy's Anna Karenina hit big screens in 2012. The writer/director team of Tom Stoppard and Joe Writght created a highly artistic adaptation of the late 19th century Russian novel.
Much of the film's set is made to mimic a theatre stage with curtains closing and doors opening to transfer characters from one setting to another. Overall, the theatrical nature of the film turns a very serious and dramatic storyline into a film that is distractingly carnivalesque.
While all of the boring text that I mentioned in my review of Anna Karenina, the novel, was left not surprisingly left out of the film, so too were a lot of the vibrant scenes that, for me, made up the brilliance of Tolstoy's characters. In the novel, Anna Karenina herself is magnificent. A lover of strong female characters in classic literature, such as myself, cannot help but thrive on her strength. In the film, Anna Karenina's character is barely mediocre and it is her jealousy and borderline madness that is showcased rather than her beauty and resilience.
All of the major characters in the film are quite one-dimensional in relation to the characters in the novel. Obviously a 900+ page novel is going to have a lot more room for character development than a 2 hour film, but the lack of depth to the film's characters, especially in relation to Levin, Kitty, and Anna, is still quite disappointing.
One positive thing I will say for the film is that the casting of Keira Knightly as Anna Karenina was perfect. She has played a number of similar roles, namely Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice (2005) and Guinevere in King Arthur (2004), so being cast as Anna Karenina only makes sense.
I gave Tolstoy's novel a 3 Stars rating according to the scale provided by Musings of a Book Lover.
1 Star - I didn't like it
2 Stars - It was ok
3 Stars - I like it
4 Stars - I really liked it
5 Stars - I loved it
I give Wright's film a 1 Star rating.
Just one more example of how much better the book is than the movie!