It takes a gifted artist to make to feel something you can only see.
It takes a master to make you feel something you thought you couldn’t feel. Relate to something you thought you had grown out of. Anna Karenina was that for me.
I have long been criticised for being hard-hearted in and out of love. I’m sensible. A blessing really, although I suspect it’s hard to live with for those on the receiving end of my affections. This film made me hold my breath for the young lovers, root for them in a way I don’t normally do with idealistic, naive, stupid thoughtless love. I was caught up in the intense longing; the tension was captured to perfection. The gentle, kind, obliviousness of Anna’s divinely patient husband was represented beautifully by Jude Law, with a dab touch of heart that made you care how he turned out, even while you understood how she could turn her back on him.
At each and every step of Anna’s journey I related to every single choice she made. And they are so STUPID. I mean for god’s sakes, the book is ridiculous! It is essentially pity-porn with nice frocks. Everyone wanders around looking longingly at each other and feeling very sad about their pathetic issues. Anna makes bad decision after bad decision and the two loveliest characters (Levin and Kitty) are relegated to the back row to allow the tormented lovers more space. Tolstoy is a writer with an artistic mind, for artistic minds. Sensible pragmatists who make choices based on outcomes need not apply. But Aaron Taylor-Johnson, UNF. There is a scene early on, where at a dance he takes a drag on a cigarette (something I usually find a massive turn off) and just the sight of his mouth makes me want to steal away to a back room and do terrible things to the poor man. I related to the undeniable passion between the two characters, in a way you really need to, to be able to join the story.
As an aside, they get ten million points for the casting of Domhnall Gleeson in the role of Levin. He is adorable, you can’t help but love his idealism. Also, GINGER BEARD FOR THE WIN!
I’m struggling to find the words to explain what just happened between this film and I in the cinema, and as time passes I can feel the captivating magic they spun around me, slip away.
Somehow, with a sense of beauty the team that made this film helped me love a book I had previously tolerated.
I’m off to read it again.
“I love you!
You can’t ask why, about love.”