So a couple weeks ago, I illegally downloaded Anna Karenina (the awards consideration copy)…don’t judge me, its not showing anywhere near me and I wanted to see it. I would have gladly paid to see it and actually would pay to see it in a theatre still… it is phenomenal.
To be frank, for the first few minutes I was like ‘what the fuck’ because it starts out very odd. Its like its a play with backdrops being changed etc. I paused it about 12 minutes in because of this and tweeted about it. Its like the stage itself represented the upper class and the behind the scenes and rafters represented the lower poor working class of Imperial Russia. Blah blah blah. It was artistic and a good way to start out the film, thank God the entire movie isn’t like that!
Since I’m illiterate, I have never read Tolstoy’s book so I had no idea what I was in for, now I actually want to read it. One of my favorite scenes was when Anna first arrived in town to meet her brother…the snow, the steam from the train, the fur and veiled hat…perfection. I also loved her meeting some narcissistic countess on the train. (Digress) Anyway, she meets this Countess’ son on the train right before disembarking to find her brother. Hes a younger very cute blonde.
As she is leaving the train she is frightened by the blackened face of a railway worker who bows to her…she goes on about her business. Moments later as she is about to leave the station there is some sort of accident and terrible screaming. The railway workers tool is seen lying on the tracks with fog all around it…then it shows the railway worker’s body cut in half…its quite a gory scene. I hate blood so I freaked out for a second. Then her brother comments that the worker was the only source of income for his family. Anna says ‘surely there is something that can be done for them.’ The young count immediately rushes and gives a wad of cash for their suffering…. I found this scene somewhat bizarre… she was so freaked out at first when seeing him and yet compassionate after his creepy death moments later.
For me, the scene reminded me of the way charity works. Rich people who don’t really care do charity to make themselves look better. Also, the Count gives the money to a policeman who seems impressed. I feel that most of the money would have been spent amongst the policemen at the scene in Imperial Russia and the family wouldn’t get very much…another allegory to modern charity. Money doesn’t go where its supposed to… sorry for ripping this scene apart and digressing into something that it has nothing to do with!
Anyway, Anna is married to Jude Law in the movie who is an older aristocratic government official who cares more about his career and honour. In one scene it shows him polishing some sort of decoration (award). Throughout the film it continuously shows him wearing different sashes and medals…that is what he was really passionate about.
Anna falls in love accidentally with the young Count. Her husband is greatly offended not because she loves someone else but because of his honour and image. She doesn’t care. In one dramatic scene he scolds her in a carriage on their way home and she leaps out, tears off her bodice and hat…she conveniently finds the Count in a hedge labyrinth.
‘My favorite scene in the film resolves around a horse racetrack which is indoor…its cold in Russia. She sits with her very self absorbed society friend, Princess Betsy. Her husband is standing a few places behind her as she notices with a compact mirror but she still scopes out her lover who is one of the riders. She frantically and vigorously fans herself with a fan while watching him intently. I thought she was going to have an orgasm just watching him ride a horse. Suddenly, the horse trips and slams into the ground. Anna leaps up screaming ‘Alexei!!’ which is conveniently also her husbands name (I think). He says ‘I’m here’ but she is obviously talking about the young blonde twink Count. The rest of the crowd just stares at her in shock, Princess Betsy looks at her like ‘Oh shit…what are you doing?!’ Anyway, its my favorite part and the scene I relate to most…don’t ask.
Anyway, its a great movie. The story is quite similar to The Duchess which also stars Kiera but it is far better in my opinion. Its moving and beautifully shot and the best part is the costumes! The costumes are freaking fabulous, lots of veiled hats.Princess Betsy wears some fabulous stuff too…in particular she wears a chartreuse colored gown which I live for. The men look good in their tailored military garb as well! I give this movie five stars and I’m a highly critical person. If you read all of this, I also give you five stars for putting up with my rambling. (Oh yeah, it won a Golden Globe for costume design!)
Did you see Anna Karenina? What did you think?