When the press attendants told us to go to the toilet because the film was going to be a long one, we must admit our hearts sank. And when it became clear that this was going to be a stylised AK, all set in a theatre (even scenes in fields and horse races!) we seriously considered closing our eyes, popping something early by Shirley on our original model iPods and snoozing the whole thing out. But we’re glad we didn’t. Sort of.
You don’t need us to tell you the story (or if you do… respectable married woman with child falls for hot young Count, starts shagging him and never mind the comeback – think Sunita in Coronation Street but substitute Count for gambling addict and you have it), which is probably why Joe Wright decided to shake it up a bit. He shouldn’t have.
Keira is luminous but not very sympathetic (everyone loves a scene where someone gets snubbed at the opera but when high society won’t speak to Anna because she’s a slag, you can’t help but think she brought it on herself) while Jude Law is surprisingly good, mainly because you don’t recognise him until halfway through.
In other news: the whole side story with Kitty and the ginger bloke gets really tired really quickly; Keira looks great with lace over her face – we think we might try that when the nights draw in; and there is some great dancing, hats and jewellery. But when Anna gets really sick, you find yourself wishing she’d get shuffling off that mortal coil, then you remember something about trains…
The lesson we took away from a film that we haven’t seen the likes of since the worst excesses of Moulin Rouge (thank the baby Jesus no one sang an Elton John song!) was that we hope we never fall in love if this is what happens. Lucky for us, we’re dead on the inside.
Film review: Anna Karenina **,