While Wright's self-conscious theatricality and dollhouse aesthetic conjure comparisons to Baz Luhrmann and Wes Anderson, he outstrips both those filmmakers in moral seriousness and maturity.
—Ann Hornaday Washington Post
Mr. Wright's Anna Karenina is different. It is risky and ambitious enough to count as an act of artistic hubris, and confident enough to triumph on its own slightly - wonderfully - crazy terms.
—A.O. Scott New York Times
The story has been filmed many times, but never with this kind of erotic charge. Knightley is glorious, her eyes blazing with a carnal yearning that can turn vindictive at any perceived slight.
—Peter Travers Rolling Stone
Whatever the interpretation, Stoppard and Wright have demonstrated that Anna's saga has lost none of its power.
—Mark Mahon Portland Oregonian
Knightley embodies Anna as a girlish woman who has never felt erotic love; once smitten, she is raised to heavenly ecstasy before tumbling into the abyss of shame. It's a nervy performance, acutely attuned to the volcanic changes a naive creature must enjoy and endure on her first leap into mad passion. She helps make Anna Karenina an operatic romance worth singing about.
—Richard Corliss Time