The Last Station
Stellar performances bring Michael Hoffman’s period literary tale, which has a delicate balance of light and shade as it mixes a solid family drama with moments of broad comedy, to life.
Christopher Plummer plays novelist Leo Tolstoy during the last year of his life. Tensions rise between his family, including Helen Mirren as his wife, and his followers, attracted by his spiritual doctrine and a mystical Christian communism and led by his main disciple, Chertkov played by Paul Giamatti.
The Countess believes that Tolstoy plans to bequeath his literary inheritance to the Russian people, thereby leaving his family in penury, and her ever increasing hysterical outbursts are designed to stop this and the influence that his followers have over him.
James McAvoy plays his new young idealistic secretary Valentin, caught between the two camps, dedicated to a better future and falling in love for the first time.
Ultimately, the film is about love and lifelong partnerships; the relationship between Tolstoy and the Countess beautifully played, as they endlessly battle for the things they believe in, but always underpinned by passion, rendering their relationship both tender and endearing.