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Anna Karenina Review Critics


Dave White Profile

Too much and not enough. Read full review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 4.0

    out of 100

    Generally favorable reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 40

    out of 100

    Wall Street Journal Joe Morgenstern

    This latest iteration of the Tolstoy classic was clearly the product of audacious thinking, stylishly applied. Still, the thinking was as wrongheaded as it was hollow-hearted. Yet another elaborate production chases its audience away.

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  • 50

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter Todd McCarthy

    Dazzlingly designed and staged in a theatrical setting so as to suggest that the characters are enacting assigned roles in life, this tight and pacy telling of a 900 page-plus novel touches a number of its important bases but lacks emotional depth, moral resonance and the simple ability to allow its rich characters to experience and drink deeply of life.

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  • 63

    out of 100

    USA Today Claudia Puig

    Though energetic, daring and gorgeous to behold, this re-imagining of Tolstoy's classic tale lacks a viable sense of passion, holding the characters at arm's length and glossing over social issues.

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  • 67

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Lisa Schwarzbaum

    In making the radical artistic choice to tell the story as if it were being enacted by players on a stage, Wright falls passionately in love with his own fanciful artifices.

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  • See all Anna Karenina reviews at

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

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
  • message true1

    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.

  • rolemodels true1

    Role models: Anna Karenina is a good mother, if not necessarily a good wife. Characters are complex and flawed.

What to watch for
  • violence false2

    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 false3

    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 false1

    Language: A few uses of "damn" and "my God."

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Not applicable

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false2

    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.