Is it any wonder that so many of us who have read Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina at various stages of our lives feared seeing it depicted in less classical terms? Tolstoy’s novel is considered one of the best books ever written, it is included in 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die. It’s sacrosanct. But obviously not to screenwriter Tom Stoppard and film director Joe Wright.
It was the casting of Keira Knightley to play the role of the motherly, full bosomed, much loved Anna Karenina that caused me doubt about the longevity of Tolstoy’s famous characters on screen before I even decided to see it.
After viewing the film, I think the casting of Knightley, which I am sure was meant to attract a young audience, was the first step towards character assassination. Stoppard became a serial killer with the casting of Jude Law as Anna’s husband, and Aaron Taylor-Johnson as her lover.
But there was also serious damage to the story itself.