Its late 19th century Russia and aristocratic Anna Karenina rushes off to St Petersburg to help save her brother Oblonsky’s marriage after his wife has caught him philandering with their children’s governess. Whilst she is there Anna meets a very dashing young Army Officer, Count Vronsky, who was courting Oblonsky’s pretty sister in law but he soon loses interest in her the moment he claps eyes on Madame Karenina. Anne, stuck in a loveless marriage to Alexei a very cold fish of a Government Minister, cannot resist his charms and they promptly embark on a passionate affair that soon becomes the talk of polite society. Cuckolded Alexei cares more about his reputation than anything else andso agrees to let Anna, now pregnant with the Count’s child, keep her status in society as long as she promises never to see Vronsky again. She however is prepared to risk anything for true love. Well, you would, wouldn’t you?
The latter part of the movie really kicks in though and you start to appreciate what a real cinematic treat it is. Miss Knightly is the best she has ever been and really quite luminous, and if you a regular reader of this Blog then you will know from my usual take on her, that this is high praise indeed. Her Anna is remarkably beautiful and the camera loves her, but we are never convinced that Vronsky actually does, as there is such little chemistry between the two. He incidentally is played by a grown up Aaron Taylor-Johnson (‘Nowhere Boy’, ‘Kick Ass’) whose talent grows with his maturity just like his name has grown since his May/December marriage.
And now I have finally seen an Anna Karenina flick, I can’t wait to now see Miss Garbo’s take. And maybe even Vivien Leigh too. Watch this space.