Reading novels and watching films about human relationships can at times prove risky, because, if done too much, it becomes difficult to separate the real from fantasy.
Fantasizing alters perception which can result in unrealistic standards and perhaps low tolerance for routine or, as people like to refer to it, “real life”. Life is mostly routine with a few magical moments in between. Because there is no escaping this, it helps most people to – sanely – live their lives when they simply accept the hard fact that this is how real life is. Yet, while doing that, they deny the other, “softer” fact…that those moments in between the routine are what matters most, or they matter as much as the rest of life. However, the same novels and films that inspire us to ask more from life, also warn us that living life in the name of those magical moments can be fatal. This is the case with Anna Karenina. This particular adaptation of one of the greatest stories of our time is worth watching, even if you haven’t read the novel.
It is a perfect mix of cinema and theater.
One of my favorite scenes:
Joshua Rothman’s review of the book and latest film adaptation of Anna Karenina is heartfelt and beautifully written.
For Tolstoy, wisdom consists in the ability “to grasp what human will and human reason can do, and what they cannot.” The only way to find those limits is to struggle against them, but gently, with the goal of finding and accepting them. You can’t think your way to the limits. You have to feel your way, learning through experience and suffering.
In life, we sometimes relinquish our freedom too easily, while, at other times, we struggle unwisely against laws that will not change. Give in too easily, and you drift through life; struggle too much, and you suffer for it.
Another view of Anna Karenina's conclusion is offered in the interesting essay below which parallels Anna's inevitable end with her train journey returning to St. Petersburg.
Read the full essay Train Wrecks and Heroines here