Anna Karenina

Rated PG-13 108 minutes 1997

All the busy “staginess” added by director Joe Wright and screenwriter Tom Stoppard can’t save this gooey remake of the Leo Tolstoy classic from being the biggest overstuffed comfy chair of the season. Wright go-to gal Keira Knightley, of the clenched jaw (Atonement), plays the tragic two-timing heroine as more of a kindly, giddy matron than as the queen of heaven, and Aaron Taylor-Johnson’s inconsequential Count Vronsky is a little light in the loafers. That leaves Jude Law, as dour Karenin, and the generally hard-working supporting cast – Domhnall Gleeson, Kelly Macdonald, Alicia Vikander, Matthew Macfadyen, David Wilmot, et al. – to shoulder the load. The Wright-Stoppard-Knightley version suffers from acute Broadway-show-itis: a riot of frou-frou, an avalanche of whirligigs, and yet the protagonists might as well be robots. Too frantic, too gilded, too managed. All this makes us want to slip away and see a real Russian film. (130 min.)

Film Credits

Director: Bernard Rose

Writer: Leo Tolstoy and Bernard Rose

Producer: Stephen McEveety and Bruce Davey

Cast: Sophie Marceau, Sean Bean, Alfred Molina, Mia Kirshner, James Fox, Fiona Shaw, Danny Huston, Phyllida Law, David Schofield, Saskia Wickham and Jennifer Hall

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