You can't make everyone happy. That can be said about every film version of "Anna Karenina." It can also be said about the tragic characters and harrowing themes within the original work. Depending on how you count, this 2012 adaptation is the fifth incarnation of the Tolstoy tale brought to the silver screen.
Staring Jude Law, Kiera Knightly, and the very funny Matthew McFayden, this theatrical and stylistic vision of the late-19th Century Russian high-society is likely to draw viewers out of their comfort zone and try a different, very visual kind of film. It's beyond a straight-forward drama about lust, compulsion, dedication, and selfishness. The fiml relies heavily on set design and clever on-screen movement to deliver something fresh. The opening scene, shot with flowing, constantly moving cameras is ambitious, as are the transitions between many scenes. Atypical set changes happen all around the characters within the film, much like on an actual stage performance. It's dreamlike, self-aware, and original if nothing else. The costumes, attention to historic detail and the musical score are some of the film's greatest strengths.
The film is easy to follow if you are paying attention. It's a "sit and concentrate" kind of movie, not a "watch in pieces while you cook" type movie. It does not require you to have previous knowledge of the other adaptations or the gargantuan original text. For sure, this is one of the best adaptations to date since the '30s. You can't make everyone happy, but if you see this film, you'll definitely have a strong opinion about it.
Recommended by Matthew Lowder