“In the intelligently ecstatic new adaptation of Anna Karenina, written by Tom Stoppard and directed by Joe Wright, all the world’s a stage — a 19th-century theater whose ornate confines are the setting for scenes taking place in Anna’s home town of St. Petersburg and in the social and political center of Moscow.

“Steeplechase horses gallop across the boards; a quiet dinner or a military banquet may be staged there. And when Anna (Keira Knightley) and Vronsky (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) meet, the theatrical intensity of their first moments in each other’s arms makes those around them not fellow performers but mute spectators, awed and aghast.

“Wright’s strategy of setting most of the action on a stage [reps] a bold structure. In a way this is opera, but grand opera, with the emotions running at fever pitch and the actors as likely to dance (choreography by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui) as walk. Vronsky and Anna’s meeting at a formal ball expresses their love through dance, exactly as the classic routines of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers did in their ’30s musicals. As Vronsky and Anna whirl, the other dancers freeze. Everyone can detect the expert passion in their movements; the couple might have been spotted in the act of love.” — from Richard Corliss‘s 9.9 Time review.