My wife is as big of a movie nerd as I am, and actually watches more movies than me. She recently has been watching all kinds of movies on Netflix Streaming, so I have begged her to give us some written reviews of some of her favorite ( or least favorite) movies she has seen lately. So with out further introduction, I proudly present our first review by Maren.
The Last Station appealed to me as a movie for a ton of reasons. First I l have a love for period pieces, especially during the beginning of the 1900’s. I love biopics , especially about important literary figures. Besides it was critically acclaimed when it came out, even earning an Oscar nomination for Christopher Plummer who plays Leo Tolstoy himself. And, let’s not forget, I basically love anything with James McAvoy in it.
So I had some pretty high expectations going into this movie. It was one of those films that I wanted to catch in the theaters but had a hard time convincing the husband it was worth a precious date night to see. That, and the limited release of movies like this make it a real effort to see in the theaters. One of the things that I love most about Netflix streaming is that I can finally see all those movies and actually enjoy them since I didn’t have to plead with my husband to watch them with me.
I didn’t know much about Tolstoy, as I have never read War and Peace. It is on my list to read sometime, I’m just working up the courage. Thus, I had no idea that this book and it’s author had created a whole movement in Russia and what lengths they were willing to go to in a effort to protect his “life’s work”.
That was the main theme that I took away from The Last Station, the contradiction between love, and the big picture or the greater cause. The film deals with the ideology that Tolstoy has created and what these characters do when they are actually confronted with life’s decisions. Similarly, how relationships evolve and what you are really willing to sacrifice for them. Do you ever sacrifice your ideals, even for love? It is funny because, at least what I took away from the movie was that Tolstoy believed in his ideals and what they would mean for the rest of the world, but not that they necessarily applied to him. Or at least that there is this contradiction between preaching a life of poverty when fame has now given him such wealth.
I’m not saying that Tolstoy didn’t change the world and in many ways liberate the Russian people, but the film did an excellent job at showcasing that fine line between “preaching it” and “living it” and what it takes to do both. I kept wondering how much of the movie’s depictions were actually real, but I have a feeling that because everyone was always writing in a journal, even to the point of basically transcribing conversations, that they actually have a lot of truth about this story.
The most compelling part this about the entire movie was the performances. I felt like the caliber of actors in this film is what kept it going. Everyone was had such depth of character and each were so multifaceted that there was no clear cut right and wrong, bad guy vs good guy. The director created a world of contradiction and realism that kept the characters believable. And In the end, Tolstoy wins I guess because Love conquers all. I very much enjoyed this movie because it hit all the points I wanted it to, the period, the biopic, the love story, and Mr. McAvoy himself. I say it is worth the watch (especially since it is as easy as a click to watch it!)