Sunday, March 7, 2010

The Last Station - Movie Review

The Last Station tells the story of the contentious last days of Tolstoy, who, surrounded by sycophants interested in promoting their Tolstoyan movement, clash with his wife over what's to be done with the copyrights of his work after his death. (The Tolstoyan movement never caught on, thank goodness. Among its tenets were the abolition of private property. And sex? No thanks. Might clutter their thoughts. Even Tolstoy himself admits he wasn't a very good Tolstoyan.) Not to give anything away, but Tolstoy finally has enough and flees, with his daughter, his estate and the rest of his family, only to come to ground due to illness at a train station.

A good movie if you like this sort of thing. The costumes are a far cry from British or American period pieces; this is Russia, people. But the countryside is verdant and the interiors rich enough in detail to convince you they're the real thing. Paul Giamatti is always a pleasure to watch and James McAvoy plays the star struck follower well. Helen Mirren's up for a Best Actress Award for here work here; oddly, Christopher Plummer, as Tolstoy, only gets a Best Supporting Actor nod. Both do excellent work. Neither will win.

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