I just finished watching the four-hour mini-series on Doctor Zhivago, featuring Keira Knightley. I've also been following the fairly new Russian series on the same, enamoured by the quality they put in television productions these days. It's amazing how both, while keeping fairly true to the source material, have managed to interpret the characters very differently.
I prefer the Russian interpretation, and not just for the authenticity (I thought the UK production was very authentic, right down to the baby-picture of Lenin on the wall of the school). This is not a dig against Keira Knightley (she reminds me of a crush I had in ground school, and I've quite liked her ever since Bend It Like Beckham), but the UK production didn't really sell any of the relationships for me. Larissa/Victor was creepy non-con, Larissa/Antipov was hollow, and Larissa/Zhivago was too saccharine for my taste. I didn't really get why any of them were together.
On the Russian production, Larissa/Victor is hot. It's deranged hate-sex, and I buy it. Larissa/Antipov is very sweet. She starts out using him to save herself, but grows to truly love him. And Larissa/Zhivago is a grim anti-romance, the kind that happens when two people are thrown together by war. I buy that, too. The actress who plays Larissa has this way of smiling that totally sells the character to me, as someone who'd have sex with her mother's boyfriend and then shoot him, as someone who'd go onto a warzone to look for someone she didn't realize she loved and who'd stay to tend the wounded, believing he's dead. I don't know what about the UK version didn't. For some reason I didn't get their motivations half of the time, and I already knew the story when I set upon watching it.The make-up department had done a great job, though. That's probably the kind of detail I shouldn't be paying attention to.