Anna KarenINA, which opened in limited release on November 16th, is acclaimed director Joe Wright's bold, theatrical new vision of the epic story of love, stirringly adapted from Leo Tolstoy's great novel by Academy Award winner Tom Stoppard (Shakespeare in Love). The film marks the third collaboration of the director with Academy Award-nominated actress Keira Knightley and Academy Award-nominated producers Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, and Paul Webster, following their award-winning box office successes Pride & Prejudice and Atonement.
The timeless story explores the capacity for love that surges through the human heart, while illuminating the lavish society that was imperial Russia in 1874.
Let's see what the critics had to say:
Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times: The director's interpretation has a feeling of something to be studied, appreciated, but it makes for a movie that is difficult to enjoy. Rather than being swept up in all the intrigues, you can never forget that this is a "work" of art, or the labor involved in every single scene. In the end "Anna Karenina" lets you down - visually stunning, emotionally overwrought, beautifully acted, but not quite right.
Peter Travers, Rolling Stone: It could have weighed a ton. That can happen when you film an 1877 classic by Russian novelist Leo Tolstoy. But thanks to director Joe Wright, Anna Karenina lifts off into the wild blue of his imagination. The surging romantic tragedy of a woman who dies for love is still there in Tom Stoppard's screenplay.
A.O. Scott, New York Times: Mr. Wright's "Anna Karenina" is different. It is risky and ambitious enough to count as an act of artistic hubris, and confident enough to triumph on its own slightly - wonderfully - crazy terms. Pious Tolstoyans may knit their brows about the stylistic liberties Mr. Wright and the screenwriter, Tom Stoppard, have taken, but surely Tolstoy can withstand (and may indeed benefit from) their playful, passionate rendering of his masterpiece.