Jan 21, 2013

Anna Karenina (2012) / appreciation for Aaron Taylor-Johnson's mustache

"You can't ask why about love."

I'm being very honest with the title there. I really am not going to talk about the movie Anna Karenina that much. I'm just mostly going to talk about Aaron Taylor-Johnson's mustache. I wish I was kidding.

Anna Karenina was very much what I expected it to be. It was quite pleasant to watch, not just because of the certain mustache, but also because of the beautiful sets and the cinematography and the costumes. Joe Wright has directed many films that I have enjoyed watching, first and foremost Atonement, which is one of my favorite films of all time, and which also made me fall irrevocably in love with James McAvoy. And which I haven't seen in a few years, actually! Gee, I need to fix that. And see if it's still favorite material.

I am one of those people who have always liked Keira Knightley. Admittedly, most of my positive sentiments for her derive from Atonement (and that gorgeous green dress!), but I've enjoyed her other performances, too. If nothing else, she can definitely pull of a sophisticated, 18th/19th century aristocrat lady.  By the way, the make-up department should get an Oscar for making Jude Law look so unattractive. That takes some skill, yo!

I find it amusing that Matthew Macfayden has been demoted from being Keira Knightley's love interest to being her brother. Ouch! The years have not been as kind to Mr. Darcy as they have been to Elizabeth Bennet. (Macfayden is eleven years Knightley's senior, though, so it's only fair that he retires from romantic leading roles earlier than her.) I liked his character, though. Comic relief is always likable.

The film was a tad too long, and at times felt very aimless. I'm not sure about the necessity of some of the subplots. Like I'm not sure whether I liked the way they used the stage as a device in telling the story. It felt strange, and confusing in the beginning.

The romance of Anna Karenina and Count Vronsky is the heart of the story, so I guess it is the thing that has to be blamed for the film leaving my mind un-blown. I mean, of course I find the premise completely believable: Bring me Aaron Taylor-Johnson wearing that mustache and the hair and the uniform, and have him shoot a few of those seductive glances at me, and I'll leave my imaginary husband before you can say, "It's ironic that Jude Law plays the decent, saint-like husband who gets cheated on by his wife who falls for someone young and good-looking".

Anyway. What I most enjoyed about the film was the beginning: when they brought in Aaron T-J (damn you, dude, for getting married and changing your last name into something so long and troublesome to type) and painted the picture about what a charmer and a heart-breaker he is, and then had him and Keira exchange some of those lingering looks loaded with sexual tension, and showed him kissing hands in intense and intimate close-ups. Ooooh. Yeah, after that no member of the audience can blame Anna Karenina for ruining her life for this young hunk of a man.

Let's review:

The best things about Anna Karenina, pt. 1: The smoking hot glances full of pure sex and seduction.
The best things about Anna Karenina, pt. 2: The super hot close-ups of kissing of hands.

Unfortunately, after the hand-kissing and the sex-glancing have worked their magic, and Anna and Vronsky fall in love so swiftly and randomly during one dance that you think you're watching a Disney animation, my interest and hopes for the film drop significantly, not to to be raised again.

Not even letting us witness the two of them kissing, more passionately and more up close than any of us in the audience feel comfortable watching, could revive the excited feelings I felt in the beginning. Because, in the end, I felt we didn't get to see enough layers in the characters. We see they are both very attractive, but we don't really get why that attraction turned into love. But, well, you can't ask why about love, you know. Still, I wanted to go a little deeper. I didn't end up caring about the characters too much.

What I did care about, however, was Aaron Taylor-Johnson's mustache. It's weird. One should not look good in a mustache. Who really wears a mustache? Except for Charlie Chaplin and Hitler, and only one of them looks good wearing it. A mustache and a head full of fake blond curls is not the easiest combination to rock, especially if you are obligated to charm all of Earth's female population while doing it. So, two thumbs up for Aaron T-J for showing that mustache can be the new sexy. We can only hope he'll adapt that look to the Kick-Ass sequel, too. Really, honestly, seriously: Not many young men could pull of that look.

The best things about Anna Karenina, pt. 3: The mustache.

I went to see Anna Karenina in the cinema of my childhood and teenage years, which was so nice, because it had been ages since the last time I went there. The audience consisted mostly of high school kids, who had come to see the film as a class assignment. Me and and my friend felt old, and oddly envious of the lucky 16-year-olds, for having such simple lives, and just hanging out at school, only dreaming about their future, instead of having to live it. Anyway, the teenagers giggled at certain parts that made them feel uncomfortable, and that made me feel uncomfortable. At times I didn't have an idea why they were bursting out laughing. Oh well. Perhaps you can't ask why about unintentional comedy, either.

Then I came to think that had they made the Star Wars prequels ten years later, Aaron Johnson (or Taylor-Johnson, whatever) could have been the perfect Anakin Skywalker that Hayden Christensen was never quite able to be. He actually might have made some of the awkward romance scenes work, too, with a few of those Glances of Seduction. Might have. Just something I hope to have a detailed, vivid, lengthy dream about tonight.


I start writing these things, thinking I have hardly anything to say, because the film didn't have much of an impact on me, but then I end up writing a post, comparable to a Tolstoy classic in length. Oh, the power of a good mustache. I'll finish by quoting the actual novel, and maybe thus fool you into thinking that this has been a very intelligent and sophisticated post, indeed.

He stepped down, trying not to look long at her, as if she were the sun, yet he saw her, like the sun, even without looking.

~ Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina


Reta said...

"the make-up department should get an Oscar for making Jude Law look so unattractive. That takes some skill, yo!"
Totta! Elokuvan suurin vääryys oli palkata sellainen komistus näyttelemään ja piilottaa kaikki ne kauniit kasvonpiirteet niiden lasien ja parran taakse.
Kirjoitin tästä itsekin jutun blogiini. Elokuva oli hieno kaikin puolin paitsi juoni oli tylsähkö, toisaalta, en odottanut tältä elokuvasta tajuntaa räjäyttäviä juonenkäänteitä.
(Minun olisi tehnyt mieli ajaa nuo viikset pois xD Varmasti epämukavaa suudellessa)

Eeva said...

Luinkin sen sun kirjoituksen ennen kuin kävin leffan katsomassa, pitääkin käydä nyt lukemassa uudestaan. Muistan, että sanoit siitä kuinka aidon näköistä lumi elokuvassa on, ja olen kyllä ihan samaa mieltä!

(Heh, mulla on pienoinen obsessio niihin viiksiin. Kukaan muu ei ole ikinä näyttänyt hyvältä viiksissä. Paitsi ehkä juurikin Jude Law Dr. John Watsonina. ;) Totta kyllä varmasti tuo epämukavuus.)

Reta said...

Sinulle on tunnustus blogissani :)

Eeva said...

Huomasin! Kiitos! :)

Anonymous said...

This is the best review oh my god. thANK YOU FOR POINTING OUT THAT AARON LOOKS GOOD IN THE MUSTACHE MY FRIENDS DONT UNDERSTAND THIS. Aaron is one of the biggest reasons why i keep watch Karenina over and over again.