CCOM went on a field trip! It was all in the name of literature of course. We (and our classy friend Norma) went to the theater and saw Anna Karenina. Yes, we were prepared to blush and flush at the R rated adaptation of Tolstoy’s classic. As we waited for the film to start Christina asked who was going to write the blog post about the movie. She looked at Jeannette who then turned to look at me. I may have pouted and whined a little about being the one that would have to describe the movie to all of you. How could one little post convey the experience of watching Anna on the big screen? Christina solved my dilemma when she suggested that we each list our three favorite and least favorite parts of the film.
So for the next few days each of us will take our turn as Roger Ebert and do a little movie reviewing.
Christine’s thumbs up
1. The artistry: Oh, the eye candy! the costumes, the scenery, the dancing, the close-ups. Everything was beautiful.
2. Scenes with Oblonsky: I think we were the only people in the theater who laughed at the “roll” references, but that was okay. Oblonsky added needed comic relief.
3. Clever staging: Having the actors on-stage, off-stage, backstage, in the catwalks… It was a fascinating way of telling the tale. Just try to imagine how the director pulled off the horse racing scene with the horses and riders on stage! A few times the director lingered in one location for a longer period, but I still appreciated the creative perspective. The movie is 130 minutes long, and I never looked at my watch.
Christine’s thumbs down
1. Condensation: Attention college students: do not think you can watch this movie and pass your Anna Karenina final exam. As with any 900 page book, things must be left out for the sake of time. Anna and Vronsky never went to Italy. Kitty never spent time at the spa. Levin’s brother was terribly sick, but we didn’t see him die. These and other omitted scenes added to Tolstoy’s character development in the book. I know they can’t make a five-hour long movie, but perhaps there were other ways to give the audience deeper insight into the characters.
2. Angst: I didn’t believe from the movie that Anna was disturbed enough to end her own life. A few shots of her drinking morphine were not enough for me to believe that she was in enough despair to dive onto the rails. And was Levin troubled by anything after his marriage to Kitty? Not that I could tell from the film.
3. Anna’s death: After Anna’s death there is a brief scene with Levin and a shot of Karenin with the two children in a field. The audience does not get to see how Anna’s death affected Vronsky. In fact the scenes leading up to Anna’s suicide are not nearly as frantic as in the book.
Have you gone to see the movie? What did you think about the adaptation?
Stay tuned for Christina and Jeannette’s reviews.