Written December 11, 2009
Beautiful, touching, funny, expertly done.
Written February 21, 2010
"The Last Station" invites us to reflect on what it means to be human. On one hand, we explore with the characters the conflict between visions of an ideal society and the concrete realities of daily living. The Tolstoys belong to the highest levels of Russian aristocracy: Leo is building a movement toward a classless society, while Sonja fears leaving behind the life she has known, should Leo's coterie convince him to change his will in a way that will overturn her life when she dies. To Leo, the movement is a way of giving social and political shape to his ideal of love, while Sonja feels that the life it is creating has lost connection with real human relationships.
"The Last Station" slowly and beautifully (with rich cinematography and music and marvelous acting by Helen Mirren and others) explores these tensions in a way that helps us feel into these tensions of life and love. This is my "best motion picture" of the year--forget the Oscar 10!
Written February 08, 2010
AO Scott - a typical death-squeamish upper-middle class New Yorker, disses the movie in the worst possible snobbish way - by stating that only pretentious snobs will lke it ("acting in bulk and literary pretension at a discount"). I read Scott, and he is a typical shallow New York upper-middleclass liberal - doesn't know what he believed/s yesterday or tomorrow, but knows what today's flavor is (feel sorry for his kids). Anyway, this movie is about death, and about how the alive elderly deal with it - the vividly alive elderly. No one wants to die, especially the passionate elderly as they confront it, and this movie shows how it is confronted through the prism of a marriage. Movie cops out a bit by throwing a lot of young sex/flesh at us, but maybe it is a necessary balance to the movie's wrinkles. Plummer and Mirren are superb - the marriage they portray is alive till the end, as all great marriages are. And great Russian scenery to boot ~
Written January 18, 2010
The ingredients are all here and all top quality: actors (Helen Mirren is a dream!), script, imagery - kudos to the director for pulling everything together masterfully. The film explores love in different stages- young love, lasting love, love for parents, love of ideals. And the love is used differently: as a weapon, to teach, but most importantly to live. All justify their actions with love, but they can't all be right. The Countess opines that her husband's disciples never understood a word he's ever written. It is possible to love something so much that you can misunderstand it completely - what is it really saying as opposed to what you want it to say. Or what a person really needs as opposed to what you need. The lesson is poignantly taught and this film should be hailed as an instant classic.
Written March 30, 2010
Well acted artsy movie.