Bernard Rose’s Anna Karenina (1997)

I started the novel Anna Karenina a year ago and have still not finished it. Why ever not is hard to say. I am stuck on page 600 or so. Danielle seemed to have the same problem as did others. I just never got into it. Especially the Lewin bits slowed me down considerably even though I think he is an interesting character (and does get his share in the movie too). Having seen the movie years ago but not remembering it (only that I did not like it too much) I thought maybe watching it again might get me in the mood to finish the book.

Anna Karenina is a very sumptuous movie and I truly enjoyed the cinematography. This is a stunningly beautiful movie but…. It is flawed. Especially towards the end or rather from the stillbirth on.  I haven’t finished the book so I don’t know what Anna will become. The Anna in this movie got on my nerves (maybe due to poor acting) and I had unkind feelings when she was finally gone (Thank God, sort of). I did not get her suffering. And then there is Sean Bean as Vronsky. Sure Sophie Marceau is cute but the Anna I picture looks different. As frail as her but cooler, more classical.  To put a handsome man’s man like Sean Bean next to her did not help either. No chemistry whatsoever. I see an Anna before my inner eye but I can’t come up with an actress who would do her justice. Especially not next to Sean Bean. I would keep him as Vronsky, that’s for sure (despite his inability to get rid of his accent). All in all I felt Vronsky’s pain much more than Anna’s. That can’t be right now can it? I think Bernard Rose should have called his movie Vronsky.

Despite its flaws it is worth watching. The opulence of the costumes, palaces and houses is wonderful. I think we get a good impression of this society. Rich and frozen in rules and rituals. To be a woman and fall in love with another man than your husband was a catastrophe. It must have been horrible to be a woman in that society any which way you look at it.

Did anyone watch it and like it? Or maybe someone saw the one with Greta Garbo? Or any of the many others?

I am sorry for this very bad trailer but there wasn’t a good one to be found.