The Last Station Movie Review
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.
Roger Ebert Review of The Last Station
- Roger Ebert on The Last Station
It might be hard to understand how seriously Tolstoy was taken at the time. To call him comparable in stature to Gandhi would not be an exaggeration, and indeed Gandhi adopted many of his ideas. Tolstoy in his 82nd year remained active and robust.
A.O. Scott says Thumbs Down
- Following Tolstoy to His Grave
To say that the actors Helen Mirren, James McAvoy, Christopher Plummer and Paul Giamatti, overdo it would be an understatement. I cant handicap their Oscar chances, but isnt there a scenery-eating contest every summer on Coney Island?
1-4-11NYTimes---For Tolstoy and Russia, Still No Happy Ending
- Tolstoy Remains Snubbed 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....