Thursday, 11 February 2010

The Last Station


Dir: Michael Hoffman (Restoration, Soapdish)
Cast: Helen Mirren, James McAvoy, Christopher Plummer, Kerry Condon, Paul Giamatti
Germany/Russia/UK, 2010

Seen: January 27, 2010 at AMC

Reason to see: Acclaim, nominations and the always amazing Helen Mirren

I was so thrilled to see that The Last Station got a Toronto release. It had been building up awards nominations over the past few months primarily, and deservedly, for Helen Mirren and that was enough to bet me into a seat. I only knew the awards buzz and the fact that it was a biopic on Tolstoy, who is played here by Christopher Plummer.

I feel like I'm outting myself by saying that I didn't know anything about Leo Tolstoy going in, but I sure as heck wanted to know by the time I got out of the film. It's fascinating that the film is a biopic on him, but primarily from the point of view of Valentin Bulgakov, a keener on Tolstoy's ideals and thrilled to be along of the ride. Helen Mirren is fantastic as Sofya Tolstoy (Leo's wife), but I'm so surprized no one is talking about how amazing James McAvoy is as the wide eyed, good hearted Valentin. His performance is spectacular! I was completely entranced during the film by all the relationships in the film, and the ongoing conflict between actions and ideals. The concepts are fascinating and handled so sensitively, but also realistically. I loved how they didn't shy away from things that could be uncomfortable or painful, but didn't exploit it either. It was a beautiful portrayal of different kinds of dedication and love over many different kinds of relationships.

It's hands down the best film I've seen of 2010 so far. I know it's still early in the year but I would be shocked if this didn't make my favourites list down the road in December. It's a beautiful film with extraordinary acting and beautiful portrayal of relationships and idea. I hope everyone gets out to see this one.

Shannon's Overall View:
I loved it
I'll watch it again
I'd highly & widely recommend it

7 minutes of preshow including 3 commercials and 2 previews: Micmacs and Nowhere Boy

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© Shannon Ridler, 2010

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