The Last Station Movie Review

Christopher Plummer as Leo Tolstoy
Christopher Plummer as Leo Tolstoy
Christopher Plummer
Christopher Plummer
Helen Mirren, Paul Giamatti, Anne-Marie Duff at Tolstoy's Death Bed
Helen Mirren, Paul Giamatti, Anne-Marie Duff at Tolstoy's Death Bed

The Last Station

I saw a wonderful movie tonight. It was so good that I felt compelled to sit down and write about it even though it's past my bedtime. The Last Station has it all--an all-star cast, great director, wonderful screenplay written by the director, Michael Hoffman, based on a novel by Jay Parini about the last year of Leo Tolstoy's life.

Helen Mirren and Christopher Plummer, the leads, were superb as Tolstoy and his wife, Sofya. Both are Oscar nominees, and both received nominations by the Screen Actors Guild, the Golden Globe. Mirren was named best actress at the Rome Film festival. Paul Giamatti was perfect as the villain locked in mortal combat with Mirren over Tolstoy's will. Tolstoy's battles with Sonya his wife of 48 years reminded me a bit of Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor going at it in "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf."

James McAvoy and Kerry Condon provided a hot but tasteful love scene and a bit of humor with McAvoy as the sensitive young writer, secretary to Tolstoy, and Condon as Masha, a sexually liberated, young, beautiful resident at the utopian-Marxist commune founded by Tolstoy on his estate. Anne-Marie Duff was quite convincing as Tolstoy's daughter who conspired with the villainous Giamatti character, Vladimir Chertkov, to get Tolstoy to write a new will signing over his literary rights for "the benefit of all Russian people."

Kerry Condon has a wonderfully expressive and impish face which matched her role perfectly.

The movie sets in Germany and Russia seemed authentic and the filmography was quite good. I wouldn't be surprised to see Mirren and/or Plummer win an Oscar.This is a must-see film.

Christopher Plummer and Helen Mirren, The Last Station
Christopher Plummer and Helen Mirren, The Last Station
Kerry Condon as Masha seducing the innocent young Valentin played by James McAvoy
Kerry Condon as Masha seducing the innocent young Valentin played by James McAvoy
Helen Mirren as Countess Sofiya Tolstoy
Helen Mirren as Countess Sofiya Tolstoy
Kerry Condon
Kerry Condon
Giamatti and McAvoy in The Last Station
Giamatti and McAvoy in The Last Station

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Comments 32 comments

Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 6 years ago Author

Don't miss "The Last Station." Great cast including Helen Mirren at her best.

eovery profile image

eovery 6 years ago from MIddle of the Boondocks of Iowa

So was that you in the first picture? Grew your beard out a little. What a good looking mature man, right?

Keep on hubbing

mewlhouse 6 years ago

I have not seen this, but will put in my queue.

Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 6 years ago Author

eovery, ha!

breakfastpop profile image

breakfastpop 6 years ago

Thanks so much fro the recommendation, Ralph. I will put this on my "must see" list.

cajunrooster profile image

cajunrooster 6 years ago from San Antonio, Texas

I am a big Christopher Plummer fan. He is one of my all-time favorites. I will have to see this. Thanks for the review.

sabu singh profile image

sabu singh 6 years ago

Thanks Ralph. Goes on to my "must see" list too.

Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 6 years ago from North America

We need more good movies like this one! I was eager to read this review and enjoyed it very much. The film has not yet been released here, but I will be looking for it and hope not to have to wait too long. Christophere Plummer is a favorite and remember Helen Mirren especailly in Excalibur, White Nights, and Calendar Girls.

ethel smith profile image

ethel smith 6 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

I shall look out for this one thanks

alekhouse profile image

alekhouse 6 years ago from Louisville, Kentucky

Wow, Ralph, this looks great. I love Helen Mirren and Christopher Plummer. They out to be great together. I've ordered this from Netflix already. Thanks

Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 6 years ago Author

A.O. Scott--To say that the actors — Helen Mirren, James McAvoy, Christopher Plummer and Paul Giamatti, among others — overdo it would be an understatement. I can’t handicap their Oscar chances, but isn’t there a scenery-eating contest every summer out on Coney Island? [I don't think Scott appreciated the movie's light touch.]

Thanks, everyone for the comments!

Stevennix2001 profile image

Stevennix2001 6 years ago

Very intersting take on the movie. I can't wait to see the movie later on tonite, since it's the last movie I need to see before I finish my two oscar hubs and the film review for myself. lol. However, thanks for the input on it, and it sounds like a great movie. Now, I know i'm in for a real treat. :)

Michael Shane profile image

Michael Shane 6 years ago from Gadsden, Alabama

Looks & sounds like a very good one to watch, I am going to put in my que...Thanks for the suggestion....

Coolmon2009 profile image

Coolmon2009 6 years ago from Texas, USA

Sounds like a good one to look for; I will be on the lookout for this one; As a side note, thanks for the link to the "One piece at a time" video; I enjoyed watching it.

Moulik Mistry profile image

Moulik Mistry 6 years ago from Burdwan, West Bengal, India

Good review, feel like watching it...

Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 6 years ago Author

Moulik,thanks for your comment. Last weekend I saw another historical movie, "Creation," about Charles Darwin's agonizing decision and battle with his highly religious wife over the publication of his life's work. This is an interesting topic, but the movie didn't live up to its promise. I rated it a C or C-.

Iðunn 6 years ago

I'm a huge Tolstoy fan and an indie film nut and I hadn't even heard of it. Thanks for the heads up! Oh, and good afternoon to you :)

Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 6 years ago Author

Not a barn burner but worth watching. Plummer and Mirren are great as usual, and Kerry Condon reminds me a bit of you in my imagination. :-)

Iðunn 6 years ago

hehe, now I definitely have to chase it down to see why. I have a friend on my old message board who says I remind him of Erin Brokovich. how could I not be pleased? :o

Beata Stasak profile image

Beata Stasak 6 years ago from Western Australia

Thank you for recomending this movie to me, I studied Tolstoy and all his work at UNI in Russia so it will be interesting to see it from English point of view. Thanks for visiting me my 'hubby friend', I will watch for this movie and write you my opinion about it. Cheers from Beata

Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 6 years ago Author

I'll look for you comments on the movie.

De Greek profile image

De Greek 6 years ago from UK

Will look out for this movie, thanks :-)

The Dix View profile image

The Dix View 6 years ago from Los Angeles

I'll take the recommendation and let you know

Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 6 years ago Author

Tnx. Please do. I think you'll like it.

vrajavala profile image

vrajavala 6 years ago from Port St. Lucie

thanks for the rundown on this movie. looks good.

Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 6 years ago Author

Thanks for the comment. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Parts of it are quite funny. Mirren is a great actress and Plummer as Tolstoy did a wonderful job.

mythbuster profile image

mythbuster 6 years ago from Utopia, Oz, You Decide

Hadn't heard of this one. I've enjoyed your review and am convinced by it - I'll search this movie out and watch it.

Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 6 years ago Author

Next to Meryl Streep, Helen Mirren is my favorite actress. The others were quite good, too.

KELLER 6 years ago

Good review.

Keep on blogging!

learntosail profile image

learntosail 6 years ago

Great review. I'll have to check it out. I believe Helen Mirren to be one of the greatest living actresses. She's great in everything she does.

Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 6 years ago Author

It was quite an enjoyable movie. Helen Mirren is always good. And Kelly Condon is great new face.

Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 5 years ago Author

For Tolstoy and Russia, Still No Happy Ending--Tolstoy Remains Snubbed in Russia, NYTimes 1-4-10

The impulse had swelled up during a lonely visit to an unmarked mound of earth where Tolstoy is buried. Mr. Stepashin described the visit — made while he was director of the Federal Security Service, successor to the K.G.B. — as an emotional experience that he has never been able to shake off.

“You look at the house where he lived and worked, where he created his works, and then you come to a place where there is nothing but this small hill,” said Mr. Stepashin, who has close ties to the church. “It was puzzling, on a human and a moral plane. And then I decided to write this letter.”

Ambivalence toward Tolstoy is new in Russia.

The Soviets planted him at the top of their literary pantheon, largely because of the radical philosophy he preached amid the early rumblings of the October Revolution. The publication of “War and Peace” and “Anna Karenina” made Tolstoy so famous that one contemporary described him as Russia’s second czar. He used that position to rail against the church, as well as the police, the army, meat eating, private property and all forms of violence.

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