Customer Review

55 of 66 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great film, shame about the heroine., 6 Nov 2012
This review is from: Anna Karenina [DVD] (DVD)
I find Keira Knightly cold. She was just right in Atonement playing a cold and beautiful young woman, and possible in Pirates of the Carribean where she played a cold and beautiful and screechy young woman. It may have something to do with her voice which seems to have no low notes and always a breathy Essex is it? accent. Wicked snow queen would be perfect for her.

Why then has she been chosen to play Elizabeth Bennet whose warmth and humour unfroze Mr.Darcy and the embodiment of passion, Anna Karenina?

Both these great novels don't make sense unless the heroine is a woman, not a girly, with a strong and complex character. Otherwise the strong and passionate men who love them would not be interested. Even Vronsky, the least cerebral of the three men tells Anna that he was put off at first thinking that she was 'just a frou frou'.
Beauty was not enough for them. They were searching for warmth. That's why all we imperfect women dream of being their object of desire; because these men look for something more.

I think she was merely smart in Pride and Prejudice and nearly the same here, a Barbie doll who only becomes convincing when she is being really nasty. Anna is a married woman, a mother, a loving sister. She has developed emotions and a passionate nature. At the end she is not simply bonkers but unable to put the passion back in the box; a real woman torn in many directions with too many conflicting loyalties. We see nothing of that in this adaptation and without that it is simply a film 'based on' Tolstoy's novel.

The acid test is that in both films we end up really sorry for the men involved that they have wasted their profound love, thrown aside what has always been important to them to end up with this pert child.

A beautiful film, brilliantly acted by all the men.
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Tracked by 5 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 16 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 2 Dec 2012 15:11:47 GMT
John Walsh says:
I agree she is a bit like that , however having said that though she did put over quite a moody and convincing performance as Anne Bennet which I thought was more believable and more true to what Austin had in mind , The TV series which I watched again after wards with "what's her name never seen again in anything else person" seemed more like a vulnerable school girl than Knightley's performance which was hard-nosed and take no prisoners as it could be for the 18 century

so I supposed i sort of disagree with you , with minor reservations

In reply to an earlier post on 3 Dec 2012 13:13:15 GMT
fabrice says:
Actually it was Elizabeth Bennet and the 19th century and AustEn. AustiIn is the car...but I agree that the BBC Austen was shallow steroetyped easy watching popcorn. I suppose I am thinking of the characters in the books. Those two books are about the characters and if you change them you change the whole idea. I'm all for new looks at old stories but as I said, its not credible that a character like Darcy falls uncontrollably in love with a hard nosed take no prisoners girl. You would have to change his character too and then he wouldn't have pride and she wouldnt have prejudice and it would be a different story altogether. In the book Elizabeth Bennet IS a vulnerable schoolgirl but one with spirit and humour enough to delight a proud man. Thanks for the comment. She certainly is extremely beautiful but Im not sure if that in itself doesnt work against her being human. Perhaps I need to be a man.

In reply to an earlier post on 3 Dec 2012 22:11:38 GMT
John Walsh says:
Sorry about the Anne (was thrown by discussing A.K) and of course its Austen and not Mini, but the book was written at the turn of the century in 1813 and was more relevant to an 18th century England, pre industrial revolution in much the same way as 2012 has more to do with 20th century values , politics and lifestyle than anything we are to see in around the next 50 years .

Having read the book and seen many adaptions of this classic I'm not so sure that your gymslip schoolgirl impression of Liz is the one I recognise , or the your Darcy
For me She being the only realist among all her sisters and only just tolerant of her almost insane hysterical, paranoid mother, to me she comes over as deeply loved by her father due to her oft revealed masculine tracts and obvious intelligence , which seems to keep her grounded in a world of men obsessed by the cattle market of lower middle class women eligible for a brief moment in time, before being confined to poor and in most cases destitute spinsterism.

She views this world with the practical contempt that it deserves and is horrified by its consequences for her sisters, while being less concerned for herself, as she has a certainty that if she has any future at all in the matter of security and love , it will be only love she will accept .
She plays her part in this obnoxious game with as much grace as her personality will allow until pushed to the limit of her endurance, at which point she turns on her oppressors and /or distractors with all the fury of a women scorned while most if not all of her fellow contemporary females would either faint, cry or commit suicide.

Darcy for me is a damaged cynic , bored with his title and riches and constant pestering by lesser men to play the game for which he has an equal contempt and a distaste for all such women who engage in it, he hates their prattle and obvious insincerity and dives for cover in to his own little anti-social world .

This for me is a tale of two people with much the same character forced to face up to a world that they would rather not exist , both acting their parts for the sake of their sanity according to their sex and what "polite society" expects of them , both being cynical to the last about the other until they come to the realisation , to use a modern term , that they are both reading off the same page, two like-minded intelligent heroes in a world of fools and dowries and desperation.

If you like soul partners

I could say more but I feel I will probably be boring everybody to death with the interpretation

Posted on 11 Dec 2012 11:00:37 GMT
Thanks for an interesting review, and I couldnt agree more about the fashionable but seriously unattractive Knightly Woman. In any case, for better or worse, for me Anna Karenina on film will always be the Garbo.

In reply to an earlier post on 11 Dec 2012 13:12:29 GMT
fabrice says:
Thank you. I agree about Garbo. The depth! The supressed sensuality! One knows that this woman has slept with someone... and had real relationships other than romances. I did also like the version with raunchy old Sean Bean as Vronski. Have you seen it?

In reply to an earlier post on 11 Dec 2012 13:56:41 GMT
Last edited by the author on 11 Dec 2012 14:02:13 GMT
fabrice says:
This to John Walsh: By no means was I bored. I would like to hear more. I think your observations are spot on... I loved the hard nosed no prisoners description...but I am not sure that you dont read too much grit and emotion into the characters. Austen's is alight touch and Elizabeth I am sure , like all her heroines is Austen herself. Wit, irony, charm seem to me to be her virtues, and the virtues she admires in others. Grace, as you point out, is Elizabeths attraction and what Darcy seeks. (Not a sneering intelligence like her father's, who is as Darcy points out, close to bad manners with his dismissive superiority. The tv version made the rest of the women extreme but in the book Mrs Bennet is merely a bit wet and airhead, doing her mothers duty at that time which was to find husbands for her daughters. If you read the more serious Eliot novels, women are criticised for not occupying themselves with this duty towards their daughters.)
Heathcliff is a damaged cynic, but not Darcy. Bored certainly, seeking a gracios woman for sure but I think you look from a modern perspective. Arranged marriage was not forced marriage. In a scattered society it was important for young women to be placed in social situations which could lead to marriage. (As they still do of course only they can seek it themselves in bars now. Then they couldnt. Then they were uneducated for anything else and relied on the social system to place them in the care of a protector and financial supporter. However deplorable that may seem to us now(as deplorable as they would think a young woman going to a bar alone) it was accepted and acceptable and worked a lot better than our present system if you look at the divorce rate.
What language you use! Obnoxious, horrified, contempt,fools, insane, hysterical. Are we talking about the same book? I'm afraid you have been reading the 20th century feminists, or indeed watching the tv version which is all transposed modern values. I think the women were just not very educated, the men too used to having their own way. Austen plays a delicate game with them and us but certainly delicate is the operative word.

That is why I feel that a 'hard nosed' Elizabeth jars and has lost the sense of the book.

I know what you mean about the century, I was reproved recently, though not very quickly for my Vanity Fair review, calling it 18th century. What I meant was the flavour was of the century before, so I see what you mean, but I cant agree. I place Austen squarely with the post revolution romantics and nowhere near Sterne and Thackeray.

Tell me what else you wanted to say. How odd that we have discussed Austen on the Karenina review...for which you may well use all those tortured adjectives.

In reply to an earlier post on 13 Dec 2012 13:04:06 GMT
Last edited by the author on 13 Dec 2012 13:13:38 GMT
Jack Leron says:
To Fabrice: I agree. Keira is a fine actress, but too girly for such a great character. All of those who have read the book (one of the greatest novels I ever read) know that Anna is a real, strong, adult and passionate woman, and you need to be mature enough yourself to understand the fullness of her nature.
Best regards

In reply to an earlier post on 13 Dec 2012 20:59:03 GMT
Last edited by the author on 13 Dec 2012 21:00:18 GMT
John Walsh says:
Actually we were discussing Pride & Prejudice

In reply to an earlier post on 14 Dec 2012 09:02:20 GMT
To Fabrice, no I didnt see Bean as Vronsky but vividly remember the face of Claire Bloom as Anna on tv circa 1960. My parents sent me to bed, the story was too naughty.

In reply to an earlier post on 14 Dec 2012 09:27:00 GMT
Jack Leron says:
To John Walsh
I understood. I was reacting to the main comment and not to the ones above.
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