Keira Knightley in Anna Karenina

Keira Knightley in Anna Karenina

Keira Knightley is an actress who has juggled may genres in recent years from the blockbuster to drama and comedy but it seems that it is the period roles where she really excels.

And this week she is back in such a role as she is set to play Anna Karenina in Joe Wright's big screen adaptation of the Leo Tolstoy novel.

To celebrate the release of the movie we took at look at some of Knightley's finest period performances:

- Pride & Prejudice

She may have starred in the likes of Pirates of the Caribbean but it was Pride & prejudice that really announced Knightley has an acting talent to be excited about.

The actress took on the role of literary heroine Elizabeth Bennet in the adaptation of the Jane Austin novel as she teamed up with director Joe Wright for the first time - the movie was Wright's big screen directorial debut.

The movie was a triumph for both director and actress as Knightley delivered her most accomplished performance to date showing that she was more than just a swashbuckling heroine.

The role of Elizabeth Bennett - which she delivered with such power and poise - saw Knightley pick up her first Best Actress Oscar nomination.

Click here to buy Pride & Prejudice on DVD

Click here to buy Pride & Prejudice on Blu-Ray

- Atonement

But it was 2007 when she delivered an even finer performance as she moved away from her girl roles to take on her first movie 'woman' part.

Atonement was her second project with Wright as they brought Ian McEwan's popular novel to life.

Knightley took on the role of Cecilia Tallis in the movie and it was an extraordinary turn from the Brit star - the emotionally repressed character saw the actress deliver a controlled performance.

Atonement was a powerful sweeping epic that really brought McEwan's novel to life in what is a mix between a love story and hard hitting war film.

Click here to buy Atonement

- The Edge Of Love

Knightley went back to the Second World War in 2008 when she teamed up with Sienna Miller for Edge of Love.

The movie was directed by John Maybury and the script was penned by Knightley's mother Sharman Macdonald.

The film is loosely based on real events and followed poet Dylan Thomas and sees Knightley take on the role of Vera Phillips.

While the movie does have its flaws but the film is a great mixture of love, jealousy and rivalry that is set to the devastating backdrop of the Second World War.

Click here to buy The Edge of Love on DVD

Click here to buy The Edge of Love on Blu-Ray

- The Duchess

In 2008 Knightley travelled back to the 18th century as she told the story of aristocrat Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire - regularly called the Princess Diana of her time.

The movie followed her loveless marriage and her affair with Charles Grey - which saw her give birth to a son.

Knightley portrays Georgiana as a strong woman who deals with and survives all that life throws at her including her husband's affairs which leads to him openly have a mistress (Hayley Atwell) living in their home to her doomed affair.

It was a fantastic performance from Knightley and while she was surrounded in early Oscar nomination whispers she did miss out.

The Duchess is a beautiful looking movie that managed to capture the essence of the era and depict a woman who was well before her time.

Click here to buy The Duchess on DVD

Click here to buy The Duchess on Blu-Ray 

- Anna Karenina

It may only be September but Anna Karenina is a movie that is already surrounded in very early Oscar talk as Knightley reunites with Wright.

The movie sees the actress team up with Jude Law, Aaron Johnson while Kelly Macdonald and Olivia Williams are also on the cast list.

The story unfolds in its original late-19th-century Russia high-society setting and powerfully explores the capacity for love that surges through the human heart, from the passion between adulterers to the bond between a mother and her children.

As Anna (Knightley) questions her happiness, change comes to her family, friends, and community.

Anna Karenina is released 7th September

FemaleFirst Helen Earnshaw

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