I watched this movie November of last year, and I just never got around to writing a review for it. This is one of those “classic” stories that I’ve just never been too fond of, and I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that I can’t really seem to completely sympathize with the main character. And after having watched this adaptation of the book, I care for Anna even less.
While I’m not too fond of the story in general, I did like some parts about this film adaptation for it. I thought it was kind of interesting that the director decided to set everything up as if we were watching a play. There were some sections where it didn’t seem quite plausible that such sets could be built and set up on a traditional theater stage, but there were plenty of sections where it was actually cool to watch these “sets” fold in on themselves and become something different.
This film has a very artsy feel to it, so if you’re into the art house/indie-type films, you’ll likely enjoy this one. I’ve speculated why it was decided that the film would be in this theatre-like format, and I think it might be possible that it’s a subtle nod acknowledging how confined Anna is as a woman in this society. Regardless, while on the one hand I do feel sorry for Anna and other women during this time period in that they really don’t have much freedom, on the other hand I think she does a lot of foolish and impulsive things that ultimately have her on the fast track to her own ruin. This is the kind of story where no one is really innocent, and even the “happy” endings don’t entirely seem all that happy to me. It all comes across to me as more of a reluctant compromise, if that makes any kind of sense.
I thought the acting was well done for the most part, but the movie did at times feel like it was progressing at a sluggish pace. I had small talk with a theater usher prior to going into the film, and I wasn’t surprised to hear that reactions to this movie were mixed. I remember she said for the most part, those in the audience who were Russian and those who read the book didn’t enjoy the film as much as those who are hearing the story for the first time. As I’ve said before, I’ve never really been fond of this story, and Anna’s character has always just rubbed me the wrong way. Maybe it’s the whole self-centric vibe I get from her character, which is really amplified in this movie.
FINAL VERDICT: C+
My rating is not on the book, but of the movie itself. I think the execution was well done; however, as I’ve mentioned before, the movie can at times feel as if it is moving a little too slowly.