First of all, if you do decide to order this film (and I highly encourage you), please remember that this is a new way of looking at this incredible and powerful love story between Anna Karenina and Count Vronsky. No, it will not cover the entire book, and no, it will not follow perfectly to every detail. I read Anna Karenina more than 10 times at least, in its original language, so English speakers you already lose stuff in translation.
So please for the love of everything, let go, and watch this incredible piece of artwork because that is what it is - moving art. It is lush, it is powerful, and it is oh so beautiful. It is a long novel, very detailed, so unless you're making it a series there is no way to cover everything. This film concentrates on Anna and Vronsky, their affair, their powerful and forbidden love. All of the other characters, though some of them main, really do end up playing second fiddle to Knightley and Taylor-Johnson. What an interesting combination, those two, I would have never considered Taylor-Johnson for this role, but he delivers. In the book, the character of Vronsky is not a hardcore, manly man, no, he is young and he is used to getting his way. Taylor-Johnson with his tousled blond hair embodies the character. Knightley of course is the queen of period films, and I love her in this role. Quite neurotic, interesting to see that considering that in the book Karenina was less so. Nonetheless, she is wonderful in this role.
The sets, wardrobe, music - incredible! You are transported to an old Russian theatre, you see the backstage, and it is a great way of portraying the life of Anna - she was always on stage due to her place in society, and she was eagerly and strongly judged by her 'friends'. A lot of work went into the settings, and they are gorgeous. The wardrobe of Anna especially is very interesting, especially for anyone who appreciates costume work and period clothing. It is a mix of late 19th century with the 1950s. An absolute treat. I wish I could wear those pieces myself. And the music!! It completes the film. I got goosebumps on my skin, tingles down my spine. Beautiful piano compositions.
This film is moving art, please watch it and appreciate it for what it is - a story of passionate love, and the emotional trial of a high society woman struggling with being constantly on 'stage.'