Saturday, February 16, 2013

You can't ask why about love

I absolutely have to write this while my memory is still fresh. While my soul still dances with the dashing, passionate Count Vronsky and my heart weeps for Anna, and my inner Thespian swirls the story around in her head and my ears still ring with the waltzing orchestra's music, I must share this powerful epic with you all.


Anna Karenina. I loved it. 

It was so... different, and that made it remarkable. Those of you that have seen the trailer, do not be fooled. This incredible tale is a modern, classic portrayal of the 1877 novel by Leo Tolstoy, and my readers, I assure you that you have never seen anything like this movie before. 



In the beginning, I will be frank that I had a few moment of What in the world?, but after my first expérience of the alternative filming techniques and set, I fell in love with the majestic tale. Set in Imperial Russia, the story is one of primarily Anna Karenina, a St. Petersburg socialite, married to her statesman husband, Alexi Karenin with their 8 year old son, Serozha. While travelling to Moscow to resolve her brother's tumult with his wife, on whom he has been cheating, she meets a cavalry soldier named Count Alexi Vronsky on arrival at the Moscow train station. Little did they know that it would be the beginning of an ending they could never foretell. They fall passionately in love, but soon their affair is revealed to Kerenin and the world.  Anna is thus cast out of society and her husband hates her with all his might. With various sub-stories within the leading plot, quite an intriguing story emerges indeed...


One little kiss on the hand is all it took. Oh how I would adore for a guy to kiss me on the hand like that... (Sigh)

The entire picture deals with so many types of love, and I think Tolstoy himself put it the best when he said, " there are as many 
kinds of love as there are hearts"


Aren't these photos just fantastic? I found them while researching the movie for some photographic material for this post.



Besides the plot, the magnificent music composed by Dario Marianelli has won my heart. The pianist trilling delicately over the keys, the orchestra invading the set (Merely a tiny hint) and that waltz (My eyes as big as 24c diamonds with just they thought of it). That waltz. 



It was a waltz, but it wasn't. I was more than that. Their arms interlinked, changed, morphed, melted together with a grace equating only to that of a swan. I would watch the movie a thousands times over just to see that flitter of beauty again and again. Oh, the beauty!

Time to pay my dues to the masters of the film, the actors, so let us start with Keira Knightley, our leading lady. As an actress, I believe she suites roles of older eras perfectly and she truly shone in this timeless, contrasting and somewhat divergent picture production. She never left her character once and I completely believed her all-encompassing love for her count. At one point, she was totally enticed, and then she wasn't, and then she was horrified or closer to the end, completely unsound mentally.
A truly brilliant performance.




Next is her beloved Count Vronsky, played by Aaron Johnson. Can I just be a total girl here and say first off that I think Aaron Johnson is hot hot hot! Okay, now I've gotten that off my chest, onto his actual performance. I actually really enjoyed watching him. He moves exactly as Alexei would have, and his charm never leaves him. In the more tense scenes of the film, he also really delivers, as his emotion and clear pain at losing Anna to herself is almost engraved into the woebegone cavalry soldier's face. Full stars!


"There can be no peace for us, only misery, and the greatest happiness"

No girl moment here unfortunately, as I wouldn't call Alexi Kerenin - yes, Anna's husband and lover have the same name - one of Jude Law's best looking roles, but it was certainly a very well played one. Playing Anna's husband, a man of government and strict religion, he has quite an open relationship with his wife, but though loving her, her cannot express this love in the ways of romanticism. Trust me, at one point, his character is so easy to hate, but in the end, he really is there for Anna. 

See what I mean?

Finally, within films there are always the few gems who though having a lesser role, truly shine. My first cream of the crop was Domhnall Gleeson, playing the soulful and kind Konstantin Levin. 


One of my absolute favourite scenes of the movie was one between Konstantin and his beloved Princess Kitty, played by Alicia Vikander -another superb performance. Time has passed and Kitty has realized her love for dear gentle Konstantin, but unable to say it aloud because of her first conceited rejection of his love, they speak to each other only using alphabet blocks. 
Most artful.

They actually won a joined award for Breakthrough Performer at the Hamptons International Film Festival.

My second crème de la crème is Ruth Wilson, as Princess Elizaveta “Betsy” Tverskoy. She has a certain spunk to her that I very much enjoyed and like Anna, she is more of a rebel with regards to societal rules and norms. A haughty, bold socialite with no judgement in her heart is what she is, and Ruth was just superb.


Directed by  Joe Wright, I give my greatest round of applause to this grandiose and enchanting film. I highly recommend it to those who will read into the symbolism and the underlying messages and can appreciate the slightly queer cinematography. 

  
Watch the film, and then, admit it. You thought it was genius too.

Anthea
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