Box art for The Last Station

The Last Station

drama


Academy Award® winner Helen Mirren (Best Actress, The Queen, 2006) and Christopher Plummer star in this compelling look at the final days of literary icon Leo Tolstoy.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
    71%
  • Audience Score
    67%

common sense

PAUSE for kids age 16
Consumerism
0 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
0 out of 5
Language
2 out of 5
Positive messages
3 out of 5
Positive role models
2 out of 5
Sex
3 out of 5
Violence
2 out of 5

Mature Tolstoy biopic recounts his conflicted last days.

what parents need to know

Parents need to know that this period drama recounting Russian novelist Leo Tolstoy's last months, while powerful and well acted, isn't too likely to appeal to kids. It has moments of both intense squabbling and gentle loving between the writer and his wife. Many of their fights are loud and painfully honest (though not venomous), and younger teens may find them disturbing. There's also a sex scene with partial nudity (a woman's breasts) and a little swearing (though "bitch" is about as strong as it gets).

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk about what the movie is trying to say about marriage. Whatmakes the romances in this film similar to or different to other Hollywood pairings?
  • Does Leo and Sofya's relationship seem realistic? How much of the movie do you think is based on fact, and what parts might the filmmakers have had to fill in? Why might filmmakers sometimes alter the truth for a movie?

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

  • Tomatometer®

    71%
    reviews counted: 3
    see all The Last Station reviews
  • Audience

    67%

Top Critic Reviews

Fresh: This handsome, well-tuned adaptation of Jay Parini's Tolstoy biography avoids being a dour subtitled slog by its strong casting, layered contrasts of love and duty, and admirable air of enthusiasm.

- Ben McEachen, Sunday Times (Australia), Thursday, June 24, 2010

Rotten: The movie has its evocative moments, but it's so rigged on the side of anti-intellectualism that you'd never guess that Tolstoy's late work inspired Gandhi and Martin Luther King.

- David Edelstein, New York Magazine, Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Rotten: Despite its literary pedigree, this stagy production mixes ribaldry and campy overacting.

- Liam Lacey, Globe and Mail, Friday, January 22, 2010

Audience Reviews

4 stars

Cast: Helen Mirren, Christopher Plummer, James McAvoy, Anne-Marie Duff, Paul Giamatti, Kerry Condon, Patrick Kennedy, John Sessions Director: Michael Hoffman Summary: Set during the last year of Russian novelist Leo Tolstoy's life, this biopic explores the fractious relationship between Tolstoy (Oscar nominee Christopher Plummer) and his wife (Oscar nominee Helen Mirren), as he embraces a life of asceticism. Paul Giamatti co-stars as impassioned Tolstoy devotee Vladimir Chertkov, with James McAvoy playing the aging writer's assistant, Valentin, who is caught in the middle of various struggles. My Thoughts: "Helen Mirren has to be one of the best actresses out there. She gives a brilliant performance along with Christopher Plummer. This might be the best acting I have seen from James McAvoy. The story is moving, funny, sad, and full of love. Paul Giamatti's character is easily one to hate. He played it very well. Everyone in this film was brilliant. Christopher Plummer is superb as Leo Tolstoy who on the one hand enjoys who he is, but also feels guilty and thinks he can be better. Helen Mirren is brilliant as his wife the countess, who doesn't want her husband giving away everything that they have worked for together, their entire lives. It is a power struggle between the countess and Vladimir Chertkov over Tolstoy's work. Just a really fascinating film. I enjoyed it a lot."

- LWOODS04, Sunday, August 29, 2010

4 stars

Damn, I loved this movie. It's at once bubbly and intoxicating, but at the same time incredibly heartbreaking. It's not a real movie. at all. But, neither does it try to be. The characters and situations are all the more beloved because we cannot totally believe them, totally relate to or understand the circumstance. The characters are drawn in absolutes, but never really feel flat. They are all fasinating, most are even easy enough to love, but they are not complex in a human sense. They all at once completely focused, but at the same time they have the complexity needed to be confincing and understood. The acting is obviously great. Everyone has already mentioned that fact, but really. Everyone is fantastic. I've always liked James McAvoy, but this is the first time his acting itself has really stood out as being incredible. The Last Station is a relentlessly optimistic film, and the characters are as well. Which one obvious exception, these are all "nicer" people than the average person. It is even varied types of selflessness that pit them against one other. Everyone feels they know what it best for everyone else, essentially causing all the strife in the film. Love can take many forms, but who is to say which is the best? We see family love, romantic love, pacifism, etc, each takes a different flavor, but each is based on one thing: Love. And what is the antidote to this tragedy? Rules, boundaries, legalism. As Mash says to Valentin "You forgot the rules and remembered love." It is true sincerity that matters, the actions are irrelevant. Love might cause one to give everything to better society or it might cause one to gather up a great inheritance. Neither action is better or worse than the other on it's own. We do not cherish and love people because of what they did FOR us, but because of what drove them to those actions.

- neverteaseaweasel, Thursday, July 15, 2010

3 stars

Outstanding performances from Christopher Plummer and especially Helen Mirren highlight this tale of Tolstoy's last days. Helen gets all the showy bits but balances them with scenes of tenderness and levity. The other performances are fine but not remarkable. The story is interesting enough but it will help if you have some familiarity with Tolstoy's life and ideals. There's also some beautiful settings and visuals.

- jjnxn, Sunday, March 7, 2010