I think I couldn’t have chosen a worse film to review first.
The thingis that I speak Russian, more or less, and since English isn’t my first language, I am extremely confused about writing the names. I can either see Cтивa Aркaдьевич Oблoнский or Stiva Arkadjevitš Oblonski and, um, I’m sure nobody wants to see any of that.
I have been excited for this film ever since I first saw the trailer which had to be about a year ago. I’ve read most of the first book a few years back and I was hoping seeing the film would spark the want to finish it. I read it because it was mentioned in The Last Song, in fact. Films and books are often intertwined for me, to be honest.
There were two parts to this film for me. For the first half, I loved Anna and Vronsky for the abundance of chemistry between them but the scene where they got together ruined it for me and it stopped being believable. From there on, Karenin and the relationship between Kitty and Levin became more interesting. Karenin was incredible: I remember not liking him by the book but I either didn’t understand it then or they took a different perspective with the film – anyway, he was kind and obviously loved Anna a lot. From the film, I would say what Anna felt for Vronsky was lust and what Karenin and Vronsky felt for Anna was love.
The way the film was made was enthralling – watching the film, I finally (alright, I’m slow) embraced that films are bolder and experimental now. It worked really well here, too – the theatrical setting was awesome. If you’ve seen it, you know what I mean. I sat up straight in my chair as soon as it started – and that’s about as serious as it gets.
What I can’t look over is the fact that the film had a Hollywood feel to it. I would’ve liked to hear more Russian – for a language that cool, a few scenes with extras speaking on the background it’s just cruel. Since the book’s setting is so elitist to Imperial Russia, the film had to have a Russian feeling to it – and which it fell short of. Though maybe I’m spoiled because the last film I saw that had to do with Russia was The Irony of Fate which is a Russian classic and one of the most famous films there. Or maybe it’s just that Hollywood simply can’t evoke the authentic feeling when it comes to foreign cultures. The costumes were nice, though, and even though they were automatically rendered unattractive for me, the bearded men were a nice touch. It was one of the things that made me think, too – how the beauty ideal for women has remained the same but for men it has changed.
What made the film beautiful, besides the cinematography, was Jude Law. His portrayal of Karenin was whole with all his magnificent beard and spectacles and perhaps the fact he was far more decent than Anna. And of course, the final scene with the flower field – all in all, he was brilliant.
This was nice. Wow. I’ll just say that since I really don’t like doing ratings because I don’t like labelling, I won’t be doing that, at least for now. An epic thank you for reading. Really. I’m astonished you’ve gotten this far. Much love.