Anna Karenina Trailer is Lush and Epic, but Should I Read the Leo Tolstoy Book Again?

Focus Features released the trailer for Anna Karenina last week. The movie hits theaters Nov. 9, 2012 and stars Keira Knightly as the aristocrat who enters into a life-changing affair with the affluent Count Vronsky (Aaron Johnson) in late 19th century Russian high society.

The poster promises that it’ll be “an epic story of love,” and it certainly looks that way based on the trailer, as well as frigid in a “cold winter” sort of way. Very Doctor Zhivago.

I’m sure I must have read the book by Leo Tolstoy somewhere in my education, but should I delve into it again before the movie drops? Tolstoy can be tough to wade through, and I don’t remember ever reaching the end of War & Peace.

Other players in the movie: Kelly Macdonald (Dolly), Jude Law (Alexei Karenin), Matthew Macfadyen (Oblonsky), Michelle Dockery (Princess Myagkaya), Emily Watson (Countess Lydia), Olivia Williams (Countess Vronskaya), and Holliday Grainger ( The Baroness).

Keira Knightley is pretty much the go-to girl when it comes to period costume dramas, and she’s worked with director Joe Wright on [amazon_link id=”B004ZJZQ5G” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Pride & Prejudice[/amazon_link] and [amazon_link id=”B002VWNIA4″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Atonement[/amazon_link]. Tom Stoppard, who wrote the screenplays for Shakespeare in Love and Billy Bathgate, is penning the adaptation.

Have you guys read Anna Karenina? Think the movie will do the book justice? Should I read it again? 


  1. Alexandra Avatar

    Hmmm. This looks tantalizing. Except that Jude Law as Karenin is simply unbelievable. One of the reasons I could accept that Anna left her husband and her son was that the husband was an old conservative jerk. Jude Law is way too young for this role. Okay, so why does Anna leave him? One word. Sex. She has great sex with what’s his name, the cavalry officer. Vronski? The actor who plays him doesn’t look masculine enough though. You have to believe she would throw everything away for this man, who’s younger than she is, totally charming, totally unreliable, and the type of man capable of dropping her afterwards. I don’t remember his having had much money in the book. I think they ran away to Italy, so he had some, but they quickly ran out. It’s good that the trailer doesn’t give away the ending. I’m not a big fan of Knightly, but will probably see this film anyway. Thanks for letting me know it’s out.

    1. Jane Boursaw Avatar

      See, I’m not familiar enough with the story to know whether Jude Law would make a good Alexei, but nothing about him says “old conservative jerk.” Seems like he’d have to be pretty awful for her to leave him. Now I’m thinking I need to revisit the book before the movie comes out, but not sure I’ve got that kind of time.

  2. Brette Sember Avatar

    I read this and really loved it. It was a long time ago though and I do remember it was quite long!

  3. Brette Sember Avatar

    I read this and really loved it. It was a long time ago though and I do remember it was quite long!

  4. FrugalKiwi Avatar

    Ooh, Tom Stoppard-he’s an amazing writer.

  5. pen4hire Avatar

    I have not read Anna Karenina, but I love Russia literature from that period. So lush and over the top romantic/ philosophical. Looks like the movie at least captures the mood–whether it gets the story may be secondary.

  6. mmgutz Avatar

    You should ABSOLUTELY read it!!!! You have plenty of time before the movie comes out. Nothing like the experience of comparing a 2.5 hour movie to an 800-page book …. I love being able to see how directors choose to condense or omit or combine the reading experience, and you can’t do that unless you’ve read it first. 

  7. Sheryl Avatar

    I haven’t read it – but really look forward to seeing this movie!

  8. ruth pennebaker Avatar

    Yes, you should read it. There’s been a new translation in the past few years that’s really good.

  9. merr Avatar

    I want to see this movie and read the new translation mentioned!

  10. MyKidsEatSquid Avatar

    See now you don’t have to read the book, because there’s a movie;) Matthew Macfadyen is one of my favorites. Have you ever watched MI 5 on the BBC? He’s great in that

  11. sarah henry Avatar

    Count me among the read first and the watch crowd. Enjoy. Look forward to seeing this flick.

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