login | register

The Last Station

Intoxicating. Infuriating. Impossible. Love. 

Year: 2009 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: Unknown 
Certificate: BBFC 15 Cert – Not suitable for under 15s 
Subtitles: This film is not expected to be subtitled, though this cannot be guaranteed. 
Directed by Michael Hoffman 
Starring: James McAvoy, Christopher Plummer, Helen Mirren, Paul Giamatti  
An image from The Last Station

Love and politics collide forcefully in Michael Hoffman’s The Last Station. In the last years of his life, the renowned Russian author and ideologist Count Leo Tolstoy (Plummer) is facing a nearly impossible decision. The conflict revolves around whether the aging Tolstoy will follow his political beliefs and sign over the copyright of his most famous work, War and Peace, to the Russian people or provide for his devoted but spirited wife, Sophya (Mirren) and their children by leaving the copyright to them.

Alongside this familial dispute is the story of Valentin Bulgakov (McAvoy), a young and idealistic intellectual who is overjoyed to be hired as the private secretary to Tolstoy. His elation is dampened somewhat by the revelation that his employer, Tolstoy’s chief ideological acolyte, Vladimir Chertkov (Giamatti) wants him to spy on the Tolstoy family in order to aid his claim to Tolstoy’s legacy. Sophya Tolstoy also unwittingly enlists the help of Valentin and he is left well and truly stuck in the middle.

Michael Hoffman has already shown that he can handle an all-star cast adroitly with his glitzy Hollywood version of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. This family drama is populated with an amazing ensemble of Academy Award winners and nominees and the power-house cast is headed up by Plummer and Mirren, whose on-screen chemistry (ranging from poignant tenderness to terrible fights) provides endless enjoyment. McAvoy and his real-life spouse, Anne-Marie Duff also share the screen in their first film together and so there is a sense of real emotional depth in this highly unusual costume drama. Visually arresting and intellectually stimulating, this is a film which should appeal to everyone.

Charlotte Moon

IMDb search | Back to Previous Schedule | This Season  |  BBFC Classification Guidelines

Screenings of this film:

2009/2010 Summer Term (35mm)