Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Last Station Movie

The Last Station, screenplay and direction by Michael Hoffman, is a movie of Jay Parini's novel, an historical drama depicting the last year of Leo Tolstoy's life. It's an extraordinary movie of the man who so influenced Martin Luther King and Gandhi. Tolstoy, considered the greatest novelist, author of War and Peace and Anna Karenina, proposed pacifivism, non violence, living as Christ taught, believed men equal founded communal living experiments and educational reforms and exasperated his wife Countess Sofya Tolstoy, mother of his 8 surviving children of her 13 births. Helen Mirren played Sofya richly portraying her depth and love. Christopher Plumber played Leo Tolstoy with his twinkling eyes, great intelligence, eccentricity and moral, philosophical and theological struggles. Paul Giamatti played Vladimir Chertkov who would become a people's publisher, friend of Leo to the end and posed the supreme threat to the inheritance of the Sofya's children. The relationship of Sofya and Chertkov is exquisitely depicted by Mirren and Giamatti. James MacAvoy played Valentin Bulgarov , Tolstoy's secretary who would try desperately to understand Tolstoy's love as it related to himself and Masha, to Leo and Sofya and Giamatti and the people. Bulgarov lived on to be a leader of the nonviolence movement into the 1960's of 20th century. The movie has an intensity and characterization that captures the essence of a Tolstoy novel. It touched me as truly as Tolstoy's great novels did constantly showing the greatness and smallness of man. The movie is a true tribute to Tolstoy, made with the love he deserves. I cried. What more can I say. Christopher Plumber and Helen Mirren brought all 48 years of the marriage of Leo and Sofya to the screen with refinement reserved to the greatest of actors. This movie is all about love.

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