Anna Karenina (1997)
Entertainment: +2
Acceptability: +1

The destructive nature of sin is profoundly illustrated in this adaptation of Leo Tolstoy's classic novel. Set during the 1880s in Russia, it stars Sophie Marceau as Anna, who lives with her husband Alexei Karenin (James Fox) on a country estate but goes to the city to visit her brother. Attending a grand ball, she meets the dashing Count Vronsky (Sean Bean), who immediately falls in love and begins pursuing Anna. She briefly resists his advances, but it isn't long before they begin an adulterous affair. Anna's husband discovers this relationship and wants her to remain true to her marital vows. But she stays with Vronsky, even though it means that she's a societal outcast and is, in her own words, "desperately unhappy." A parallel love story is much more uplifting. A character named Constantin Levin (Alfred Molina), who narrates the story and represents Tolstoy himself, finds happiness with Princess Kitty (Mia Kirshner), a sophisticated young woman who initially rejected his proposal because she was also involved with Vronsky. The film, which was shot on location in Russia, looks wonderful. But it has little emotional depth, dealing with its characters entirely on the surface and making it difficult to care about them. Anna's motives for continuing her ill-fated love affair are never clear, and consequently viewers will not understand how her misguided passions lead to tragedy.

Although there are no sex scenes in the film, it is implied once as Anna and Vronsky are shown in bed with their nudity obscured. A few passionate moments are also shown, while female breast nudity appears briefly once during a drunken party involving soldiers and prostitutes. In an early scene a man is shown after he's crushed by a train, which foreshadows Anna's own suicide. This is only suggested when we see her throw herself in front of a train. Adultery is not condoned or glamorized in Anna Karenina in fact, many people suffer because of this transgression. But the mature nature of the main story makes it only appropriate for adults.

Preview Reviewer: Mark Perry
Distributor: Warner Bros., 4000 Warner Blvd., Burbank, CA 91522

Crude Language: None
Obscene Language: None
Profanity: Several (5) times Regular 2 (for G sake 2), Exclamatory 3
Violence: Several times Moderate (man shown after being crushed by train, bird killed with hunting rifle, injured horse shot, woman bleeds from miscarriage, woman commits suicide by throwing herself in front of train)
Sexual Intercourse: Implied once (couple in bed)
Nudity: Brief female breast nudity once; near nudity several times (unclothed couple with nudity obscured, low-cut dresses, scantily clad women)
Homosexual Conduct: None
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: Few times (passionate kissing, man kisses woman's breast and leg)
Drug Abuse: Few times (alcohol drinking, cigar smoking, woman abuses medicine)
Other: Adulterous affair not condoned
Running Time: 105 minutes
Intended Audience: Adults

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