The second part of Sergey Bondarchuk’s epic film series based on Tolstoy’s War and Peace picks up in 1809. The focus here is on Natasha Rostova (Lyudmila Savelyeva), who is now old enough to enter society and attend her first ball.
If the first segment of the film worked to introduce the characters and the Russian political climate that shapes the plot, this second installment helps add emotional depth and melodrama to the overarching story. It is here that Natasha emerges as a character of note, and Savelyeva’s performance is strong. The love triangle between Natasha, Prince Andrei (Vyacheslav Tikhonov), and Anatol Kuragin (Vasili Lanovoy) is one of the most famous in literary history, and Bondarchuk does an admirable job depicting it here. That said, it seems like the series’ greatest strength is in depicting the grand scope of the Russian war campaigns, and the intimate period drama that dominates most of this story segment pales a bit in comparison.