The Last Station
Spring 2010 Features series
Sunday, April 11, 2010 at 4:00pm
Sunday, April 11, 2010 at 7:00pm
Directed by Michael Hoffman
Screenplay by Michael Hoffman
Based on the book by Jay Parini
Starring Helen Mirren, James McAvoy, Paul Giamatti, Christopher Plummer
Rated 14A ·
Germany, Russia, United Kingdom
After almost fifty years of marriage, the Countess Sofya, Leo Tolstoy’s devoted wife, passionate lover, muse and secretary—she’s copied out War and Peace six times…by hand—suddenly finds her entire world turned upside down. In the name of his newly created religion, the great Russian novelist has renounced his noble title, his property and even his family in favour of poverty, vegetarianism and even celibacy. After she’s born him thirteen children!
When Sofya then discovers that Tolstoy’s trusted disciple, Chertkov —whom she despises—may have secretly persuaded her husband to sign a new will, leaving the rights to his iconic novels to the Russian people rather than his very own family, she is consumed by righteous outrage. Using every bit of cunning, every trick of seduction in her considerable arsenal, she fights fiercely for what she believes is rightfully hers.
Into this minefield wanders Tolstoy’s worshipful new assistant, the young, gullible Valentin (James McAvoy). In no time he becomes a pawn of both the scheming Chertkov and then the wounded, vengeful Sofya as each plots to undermine the other’s gains. Complicating Valentin’s life even further is the overwhelming passion he feels for the beautiful, spirited Masha (Kerry Condon), a free thinking adherent of Tolstoy’s new religion whose unconventional attitudes about sex and love both compel and confuse him. Infatuated with Tolstoy’s notions of ideal love, but mystified by the Tolstoys’ rich and turbulent marriage, Valentin is ill equipped to deal with the complications of love in the real world.
A tale of two romances, one beginning, one near its end, The Last Station is a complex, funny, rich and emotional story about the difficulty of living with love and the impossibility of living without it.