expr:class='"loading" + data:blog.mobileClass'>
Knowledge of our past is our inheritance. What we do with that knowledge will shape our destinies...

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Anna Karenina Movie Review + Thoughts for Thursday--History

I've been wanting to see Anna Karenina since it first came out, but either it never came to the Northern Utah movie theaters, or it was just here and gone, which is code for I missed it. I was a little unsure, because while I'm glad I persevered and got through the novel, it wasn't my favorite story ever and I really didn't like Anna as a character. Still, I was curious to see how a film maker would handle the material. When it turned out to have an R-rating, I became suspicious again. Granted, the book is about a married woman who has an affair, so some sexual content is to be expected, but I was afraid maybe this was one of those movies where they made the plot an excuse to create cheap porn.

I'm happy to say that none of my fears were realized. I actually really enjoyed the film--possibly more than I did the book, which almost never happens. The book was hard to get through because the writing was clunky and rambled. The film distilled the 900 page into it's most important parts, but also managed to get character across.

Matthew MacFadyen--one of my very favorite English dudes--did a great job as Oblonsky. He's shallow and silly, but so endearing you can't hate him. I thought Aaron Taylor-Johnson did a great job portraying every part of Vronsky's character, who starts out being a player, then becomes a devoted lover, then fortune's fool as things spin out of his control and he doesn't know how to deal with them. Kiera Knightly did an excellent job portraying Anna, and I was most impressed by Domhnall Gleeson's portrayal of Konstantin. When I saw him, I really wasn't sure. Physically, he just wasn't how I pictured the character, but he did an excellent job. Incidentally, he's the oldest of Brendon Gleeson's sons, several of whom act. A factoid I didn't know before watching this film. :D) And Jude Law did an excellent Karenin.

The film took a somewhat bizarre route to story-telling. Most of the action takes place on a stage, as though we are watching a play that has simply been filmed, complete with visible set changes and background extras that move in perfect sync. But then the characters will venture back stage without blinking, as though they are both the actors and the characters in the story. I heard it was a little weird, and I'll admit it was distracting at times, but overall it wasn't as weird as I would have thought. I actually found it to be an interesting interpretation.

 The film also made use of mirrors, which is tremendously appropriate because this is very much a story about both how Anna sees herself and how society sees her. (And by extension, how she thinks society sees her). The writers and filmmakers really understood the material and did a great job bringing it across.

Given the R-rating, I didn't find this film to be particularly adult. There was a long sex scene, but it was relatively discreet. (I'll admit I was working on my computer for part of it, so it's possible I missed something, but even if I did, it would have been just a quick flash I didn't catch.)

Overall, make sure you know what you're getting into. This story is not happy or redemptive--quite the opposite--so it may not be for everyone. But in terms of the adaptation from book to film, I was pleasantly surprised.

Thoughts for Thursday is a meme hosted by Musings on Fantasia and LKHill.  In this meme, we share thoughts or quotes that we know or have recently come across. Each week there is a specific subject or theme. These can be quotes from books, quotes by famous people, (quotes by YOU, perhaps ;D). Anything from anywhere is game, though we do ask that you keep your quote to a few sentences at most. Don't quote, for example, entire passages of a book or essay. These can be funny quips, cool sayings, hair-raising antidotes, movie lines, any kind of quote you can think of!

Just have fun, collect awesome sayings by awesome people, and try to be inspired!

This week's theme is History!

"A small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the course of history."--Mahatma Gandhi

"Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe."--H.G. Wells

"History is a cyclic poem written by time upon the memories of man."--Percy Bysshe Shelley

"If you don't know history, then you don't know anything. You are a leaf that doesn't know it is part of a tree."--Michael Crichton
"Writing history is a perpetual exercise in judgment."-- Cushing Strout

What's your favorite quote about history? Do you have one to add? 

No comments:

Post a Comment