‘Anna Karenina’ Review Round-Up: Ambitious Yet Ostentatious

The reviews are in for Keira Knightley’s Anna Karenina, and critics seem divided over the film, finding it largely ambitious though a bit too ostentatious for its own good.

The film, an adaptation of the Leo Tolstoy novel of the same name, sees Keira Knightley under Joe Wright’s direction for the third time (Pride & Prejudice and Atonement) in a role previously inhabited by the likes of Jacqueline Bisset, Greta Garbo, Sophie Marceau, and Vivien Leigh.

Here’s a quick review round-up of Anna Karenina:

“There are times when it is not quite clear if we are looking at characters in a story or players on a stage. Productions can sometimes upstage a story, but when the story is as considerable as Anna Karenina, that can be a miscalculation,” said Roger Ebert of the Sun 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,” said A.O. Scott of the New York Times.

Anna Karenina, director Joe Wright’s startling new vision of the Tolstoy classic, is all dressed up with no place to go,” opined Betsy Sharkey of the LA Times. “The production is bold, sumptuous, ambitious and yet bound by its own self-imposed conventions.”

Ann Hornaday of the Washington Post had a particularly glowing review of the film, saying,”Very rarely in this exquisite production does the action move outside the immediate environs of the theater that serves as both backdrop and metaphor,” concluding, “Wright’s Anna Karenina sings, dances and finally soars, even as its legendary heroine plunges to her most self-destructive depths.”

Anna Karenina is playing now. Did you see it? What did you think?

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