Anna Karenina 2012

Critics score:
63 / 100

Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes

Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune: It's a half-success -- a baldly conceptual response to the Leo Tolstoy novel, with a heavy theatrical framework placed around the narrative of girl meets boy, followed by girl meets train. Read more

Richard Corliss, TIME Magazine: Knightley embodies Anna as a girlish woman who has never felt erotic love; once smitten, she is raised to heavenly ecstasy before tumbling into the abyss of shame. Read more

Glenn Kenny, MSN Movies: ... the signal achievement of this version of 'Anna Karenina' is that it manages to use a world literary classic as the platform for nothing less than the longest Chanel ad ever. Read more

A.O. Scott, New York Times: 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. Read more

David Edelstein, New York Magazine/Vulture: As boldly original a miscalculation as any you're likely to see. Read more

Rex Reed, New York Observer: James Joyce once wrote that [Tolstoy] was "never dull, never stupid, never tired, pedantic or theatrical." He might change his mind if he saw Anna Karenina. Read more

Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal: The ropes and curtains and ladders of this "Anna Karenina" serve mainly as distractions. And they're solutions to a part of the problem that doesn't exist. Read more

Moira MacDonald, Seattle Times: You don't merely watch Joe Wright's sumptuous "Anna Karenina," but you waltz with it, run with it, whirl with it. Read more

Keith Phipps, AV Club: There's no deadlier sort of movie than a stodgy literary adaptation. Thankfully, Joe Wright seems incapable of making one. Read more

Bill Goodykoontz, Arizona Republic: Knightley and Law are what salvage Wright's interesting stab at something different, taking an interesting, if flawed, experiment and turning it into something better than it probably ought to be. Read more

Ty Burr, Boston Globe: There's a coldness to the new "Anna Karenina" that has nothing to do with the white stuff piled up along the streets of 19th-century St. Petersburg. It's the chill that comes from a director entranced with his own talent. Read more

J. R. Jones, Chicago Reader: Without Tolsoy's profound interior narration, Anna Karenina is just a soap opera, and for some reason director Joe Wright has decided to compound this problem with deliberate, showy artifice. Read more

Peter Rainer, Christian Science Monitor: Often deliberately arch and formal, the performers have been instructed to emphasize the overwrought theatricality of Anna's disapproving social set. What doesn't emerge is Anna's passion. Panic is more like it. Read more

Lisa Kennedy, Denver Post: Thank goodness for Domhnall Gleeson's gentle turn as Oblonsky's friend Levin. The ginger-haired landowner is the movie's warmest figure. Read more

Tom Long, Detroit News: "Anna Karenina," lush as it is, fails to strike a fully human chord. Read more

Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly: In making the radical artistic choice to tell the story as if it were being enacted by players on a stage, Wright falls passionately in love with his own fanciful artifices. Read more

Laremy Legel, Solid visual moments aren't enough to sustain an audience, and Joe Wright's style isn't enough to salvage gaping wounds in the story. Read more

Todd McCarthy, Hollywood Reporter: The weight of its intellectual distancing device presses much of the life and feeling out of Joe Wright's and Tom Stoppard's adventurous adaptation of Tolstoy's Anna Karenina. Read more

Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times: All dressed up with no place to go. Read more

David Thomson, The New Republic: So can we somehow make a bargain with the film world: no more Anna Kareninas? You're making idiots of yourselves. Read more

Rafer Guzman, Newsday: This multilayered movie is not your average Tolstoy adaptation. Read more

Anthony Lane, New Yorker: The metaphorical force of this conceit-insisting on the artifice of the social world that frowns on rapture-is not hard to grasp, but its frailty unsettles some of the actors. Read more

Stephen Whitty, Newark Star-Ledger: For "Anna Karenina" to truly work, you have to look at this two and think, what a tragedy. Instead you look at Anna and think, what a fool. Read more

Ella Taylor, NPR: The best that can be said of Knightley is that she's puppy-eyed eye candy, in vibrant reds and blacks with fur trims to die for. Read more

Elizabeth Weitzman, New York Daily News: "Anna" is daring enough to seduce us, if ultimately incapable of breaking our hearts. Read more

Lou Lumenick, New York Post: A handsome, grandly theatrical reimagining of the Tolstoy novel starring his muse, Keira Knightley. Read more

Steven Rea, Philadelphia Inquirer: It's hard not to admire Wright's bold approach to Anna Karenina's story of longing and jealousy and societal condemnation. Read more

James Berardinelli, ReelViews: As a one-time devotee of Russian literature, I was suitably diverted and occasionally impressed. Your mileage may vary. Read more

Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times: This is a sumptuous film - extravagantly staged and photographed, perhaps too much so for its own good. Read more

Peter Travers, Rolling Stone: This story has been filmed many times, but never with this kind of erotic charge. Knightley is glorious. My advice is to let Wright's Anna Karenina work its strange and marvelous spell. Read more

Andrew O'Hehir, A furiously ambitious literary adaptation, the best of Wright and Knightley's careers, that tries to make us feel the intense sexuality and terror and grief of a classic novel ... Read more

Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle: Wright made the movie he wanted to make, and he made it well. It just wasn't worth making. Read more

Christy Lemire, Associated Press: Wondrous as all this artifice is, it's also a huge distraction. The self-consciousness of the structure keeps us at arm's length emotionally. Read more

Joe Williams, St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Even more than most versions of "Anna Karenina," this chamber piece is heated by two combustible characters, not by the winds of war and peace. Read more

Rick Groen, Globe and Mail: In this adaptation, director Joe Wright, plus screenwriter Tom Stoppard, are determined to tame the untameable. And they do. Read more

Peter Howell, Toronto Star: The very picture of noble failure, it's a bright red heart without a beat. Read more

Guy Lodge, Time Out: Knightley, resplendent in exaggerated furs and art-directed lace veils, has never looked more like an honest-to-goodness movie star. Read more

Keith Uhlich, Time Out: It never feels like we're watching people pressed on by the burdens of society and history, just extravagantly costumed puppets navigating Wright's colorfully shallow bag of tricks. Read more

Claudia Puig, USA Today: An intoxicating spectacle that breathes new life into the classic Tolstoy novel, incorporating the notion that all life's a stage -- at least for imperial Russian society. Read more

Leslie Felperin, Variety: Eschewing the classical realism that's characterized most adaptations of Tolstoy's source novel, helmer Joe Wright makes the generally inspired decision to stylize his dark, expressionist take on Anna Karenina. Read more

Nick Pinkerton, Village Voice: Confoundingly good performances gradually win the movie from Wright's puerile conceit, giving us an Anna Karenina if not for the ages, than at least for an evening. Read more

Ann Hornaday, Washington Post: Wright's "Anna Karenina" sings, dances and finally soars, even as its legendary heroine plunges to her most self-destructive depths. Read more