OK for kids 16+
Stylized retelling of Tolstoy classic best for older teens.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Anna Karenina is a sensuous, visually sumptuous, beautifully stylized take on Tolstoy's classic novel about doomed love in late 1870s Russia. It's quite intense, focusing on how a woman (played by Keira Knightley) turns her back on her husband to be with her lover, putting her marriage, motherhood, and place in society in jeopardy and tearing her apart. There's little nudity beyond cleavage and men's bare chests, but some scenes definitely imply lovemaking, and there's moaning and passionate kissing. Also expect smoking and vodka drinking, as well as some tragic scenes and death.
- Families can talk about Anna Karenina's message. What are audiences intended to take away? Are you meant to admire the characters?
- Why is Anna shunned? Why isn't she able to divorce her husband? What does her situation say about the role of women at the time?
- How is this period drama different from most period dramas? Is it a format that works?
The good stuff
Messages: While the movie makes it clear that love comes in many forms and, for the most part, is life-affirming and soul-sustaining, the story is also about a woman who turns her back on her husband to be with her lover, putting her marriage, motherhood, and place in society in jeopardy and tearing her apart.
Role models: Anna Karenina is a good mother, if not necessarily a good wife. Characters are complex and flawed.
What to watch for
Violence: A man is shown pinned under a train and his bloody insides are visible for a few seconds; later, a woman is shown bloodied and dead after being hit by a train.
Sex: Gauzy scenes in close-up and soft focus imply strongly that a couple is having sex. Some moaning. Passionate kissing. A man is shown retrieving a birth control device before having sex. Talk of brothels, affairs/cheating, lovers. Some cleavage and scenes of shirtless men (plus one glimpse of the side of a man's bare bottom). Part of a wet nurse's breast is seen.
Language: A few uses of "damn" and "my God."
Consumerism: Not an issue
Drinking, drugs and smoking: Some period-accurate smoking, as well as a few scenes of people drinking vodka and champagne. A woman resorts to using morphine to fall asleep.
Fan Reviews provided by
Beautifully engaging by MedRed
Anna Karenina takes place in some of the most lavish and detailed settings to grace the big screen. This movie is a feast for the eyes. The scene transitions happen as if on a stage in a theater.
The actual story is close to 70% of the novel's content. It does deviate in some places mostly through omission of details as opposed to rewriting the story. The acting is top shelf and the story is well paced.
For Tolstoy purists, you may be left wanting more. For someone that wants to see an engaging tragedy based on one of the greatest novels ever written, you won't be disappointed.
Beautiful vision by pennylane67
Anna Karenina is enchanting. Part film, part play...fantastic. The performances were stirring. Keira Knightly plays Anna in such a moving yet subtle peformance. Aaron Johnson was amazing. His eyes are absolutely mesmerizing. Such chemistry between Aaron and Keira. When Count Vronsky first appears on screen he took my breath away, literally.
Miscast, and oh sooo boring!!! by jillcassidy
One of the most passionate love stories of all times has been reduced to a few badly placed sound bites. Judd Law does his best, but there is only so much that this great actor can do with so very little to work with! Rent the original!!
Breathtaking by Irishlass4165
How it is played out is a little different than traditional films...beautifully filmed. You will connect with the characters , enjoy the music, dances, costumes, the story. Keira Knightly plays the part beautifully.
If you like period films and are a romantic at heart....it is a must see.
Enjoyable and fun but far from the novel by oksanah
It is of course impossible to transform the whole book on to the screen of a movie theater but I thought a better job could have been accomplished. A lot of important parts have been ommited and unimportant were displayed. In L. Tolstoy's life religion played a very important role and in his book one is able to follow authors questions and thoughts about the purpose and meaning of life which were bearly touched upon in the movie. Will this movie satisfy and entertain the American audience? yes, but does it convey the ideas that the author was trying to accomplish in his novel? no. On the other hand, well picked actors that have done a marvelous job, a good music selection and background scenes.
Spectacular by ehmoviefan
LOVED everything about this film, I am hoping it wins many awards next year. Kiera is beautiful and I am sure I will view this film again. Costumes, sets, casting, all right on the money and kudo's to all involved. An amazing experience that will thrill anyone who love period pieces and great literature.
REALLY A MUSICAL! by b_r_hardcastle
I read the book and thought I knew what I was about to see but was completely surprised by the unusual and very creative setting of this movie. I hear that the critics are just as shocked and many didn't like it but I did - enough to see it twice. The movie was actually choreographed throughout so that the music and dance-like movements were an important part of telling the beautiful story. I especially loved that the whole Tolstoy novel was portrayed - not just "Anna's" story. Anna's brother & sister-in-law as well as another couple's love stories were told also and were a nice contrast to Anna's tragedy. Also, the movie included Tolstoy's comments on the rigidity of Russian society and brought out the class warfare that would lead to the communist revolution years later. It was great - I would see it again!
Anna Karenina by carolyne00
The beginning was a little choppy, but once I figured out what the director was going for, it got better.
I was so mad at Keira Knightley, she was playing games with both men. The things she said to her husband enraged me, which means it was well done. Jude Law had such a range, I wouldn't have know it was him, if I had read up on it. He really made me care about him.
Powerful story presented in an unique way by Andrmar1
Did not read Tolstoy's book but the movie presented a powerful emotional story. But it was presented in a unique way which I found somewhat distracting and seemed to lessen the impact for me. But it is definitely worth seeing.
Weird by oneof5
I like Keira Knightly and I love Anna Karenina (the book). I was very disappointed in this movie! It was weird at best. Low budget screamed from this movie. These people are Russian aristocracy and the director makes the characters, actors, and the setting is a stage!! It DOES look like a bad dream!!! I wanted to see over the top residencies and beautiful Russian countryside not a danged back stage. CHEAP!!! Weird!!! Tolstoy is turning over in his grave!!! They might as well made the setting, Disney World. In fact Disney World probably would have been better.