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December 2nd, 2012

Anna Karenina, the 2012 movie


I met the Mostly Social Book Club at the Carolina Theatre, arriving at about 1:45 for the 2:00 showing of Anna Karenina, which we read as a group back in 2009 at Janet's suggestion. In addition to me, Janet, Suzanne, Sharon, and Mary, Mary's mother joined us.

I really enjoyed this movie, but I was glad that I'd read the book beforehand. While I don't think it was essential to its understanding, it sure did help me follow along better and keep the characters straight, especially since the two main male characters of this story have the same first name, Alexei. I mean, really, was that necessary, Leo?

I'm not sure that the "theater in a movie" approach added much, if anything, to this film. At times, especially in the beginning, I was thinking, "What the heck?" With that said, by the end, once getting used to it, it became a diminished bother.

The story, of course, is great, otherwise it wouldn't be a Tolstoy masterpiece. The tragic heroine is played well by Keira Knightley, although there were at least three places where I thought her facial expression to acknowledge something that had just been said or done, came noticeably—about three seconds—too late.

I knew I was going to like Jude Law and Matthew MacFadyen, but I was most surprised, and taken with Aaron Taylor-Johnson, especially since I'm not generally attracted to blonds. Oh? You thought I was talking about these guys' acting abilities? Please.

In all seriousness, I thought it was a great interpretation and cinematically well-done period piece, and if you like that kind of stuff at all, you'll most likely enjoy it.

With that said, it's very heterosexual, with the only two glimmers of interest to me, from a gay male perspective, being:

  1. A scene where Aaron Taylor-Johnson is lying naked with Keira Knightley, and his thigh is absolutely exquisite, and

  2. A scene in which Aaron Taylor-Johnson puts his face very close to Jude Law's face—one of those moments when my internal voice is screaming, "Kiss him! Kiss him!"—and then Aaron rests his face on Jude's chest.

I paid $7 for this movie, and in terms of dollars per minute, I would rate it a good value. It's two hours and ten minutes long.




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