I review the pseudo-biopic The Last Station, starring Christopher Plummer as Leo Tolstoy and Helen Mirren as Countess Sofya Tolstoy (both nominated for their performances) and directed by Michael Hoffman, for The Stranger this week.
This is Tolstoy as a merry bohemian in aristocratic trappings, preaching the evils of private property while living in a mansion. Sofya, meanwhile, is quite wedded to the concept of private property and happy to debate her philosopher husband. They have found a way to remain in philosophical disagreement and conjugal bliss…. The couple’s détente deteriorates as the power struggle escalates and our wide-eyed young Tolstoyan disciple (James McAvoy, all amiable naïf) watches a great love dashed by petty concerns. The film deteriorates along with it, into theatrical confrontations and tragic gestures.