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The Last Station (2009)

James McAvoy , Christopher Plummer , Michael Hoffman  |  R |  DVD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (73 customer reviews)

List Price: $19.99
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Product Details

  • Actors: James McAvoy, Christopher Plummer
  • Directors: Michael Hoffman
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, French
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Classics
  • DVD Release Date: June 22, 2010
  • Run Time: 112 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (73 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002ZG99EK
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #62,388 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Last Station" on IMDb

Special Features

Commentary with Christopher Plummer and Helen Mirren
Commentary with Director Michael Hoffman
The Missed Station Outakes
Deleted Scenes
A Tribute to Christopher Plummer

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

Helen Mirren, Christopher Plummer, and James McAvoy lead an impeccable cast in The Last Station, a sweet comedy-drama about the final days of the Russian novelist Tolstoy. Nineteenth-century paparazzi lurk outside of Tolstoy's estate, hoping to snatch a picture of the rumored strife between the world-famous writer (Plummer, The Insider), who's launched an antimaterialist movement, and his aristocratic wife, Sofya (Mirren, The Queen). Also lurking is Tolstoy's aide, Chertkov (Paul Giamatti, Sideways), who despises Sofya and pushes to change Tolstoy's will to prevent Sofya from inheriting the royalties from Tolstoy's books. Into this nest of conflict comes a young secretary, Valentin (McAvoy, Atonement), who idolizes Tolstoy and strives to live by the principles of abstinence and vegetarianism… only to find his purity tested by sensual temptations (including a headstrong young woman played by Kerry Condon of Rome) and an unexpected sympathy for Sofya. Moments of sly comedy keep The Last Station from becoming overly literary. The movie as a whole lacks the emotional punch it reaches for, but every scene is a polished jewel, expertly and passionately crafted by the actors and writer-director Michael Hoffman (A Midsummer Night's Dream), rich with feeling and social detail. Mirren, of course, is superb, with a wonderful portrayal of a woman who can't help turning her genuine passions into a performance that repels her husband. --Bret Fetzer


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Product Description

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. Having renounced his title and property, Tolstoy makes plans to donate his royalties to the Russian People, supported by his trusted disciple Chertkov (Paul Giamatti). Tolstoy's outraged wife wages a one-woman war to challenge her husband's outrageous act of idealism. Co-starring Golden Globe® nominee James McAvoy (Best Actor - Drama, Atonement, 2008) as the novelist's worshipful assistant whose romance with a free-spirited young woman puts Tolstoy's notion of ideal love to the ultimate test.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
171 of 175 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Last Station - Film Review February 20, 2010
Format:DVD
The film "The Last Station" focuses on the last few months of the novelist and writer Leo Tolstoy's family and social life. It stars Christopher Plummer as Tolstoy, Helen Mirren as his wife Sophya, James McAvoy as Tolstoy's new personal secretary Valentin, Kerry Condon as Valentin's charming and aggressive love interest, and Paul Giamatti as the leader of a group of "Tolstoyans" who wish to widely promote Tolstoy's ideals.

The film is set in early 20th century Russia, before the harsh realities of the Russian Revolution occurred in 1917 and thereafter (Tolstoy died in 1910). It was a time in history when Socialism was still an untried idealized conceptual form of government, and Tolstoy in his final years became more "radical" in his political, religious, and social philosophies.

The film raises 2 universal questions: 1) What do you do when the love of your life is in conflict with your highest priority ideals? And how does your treatment or mistreatment of the people closest to you, who have loved and cared for you the most, reflect on the quality of your ideals?

~Spoilers Ahead ~

In the final months of Tolstoy's life, he abandoned his wife of 48 years, Sophya. Before Sophya and Leo married, Sophya knew of his many sexual escapades he shared with her in his diaries. She knew he had fathered a child with one of the servant girls in his household. Nevertheless, she loved him and married him, giving him 13 children, 5 of whom died in childhood. The movie implies the question: At what point does your life become more than a solitary pursuit? After how many years of good treatment and co-dependence with those close to you does your life necessarily and deservedly become considerate of more than just your own priorities?
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59 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Magnificent Movie Experience February 21, 2010
Format:Blu-ray
"The Last Station"--oh, what a great movie experience. It has superb acting, a fascinating story, stunning cinematography, and the evocation of a period in history. Leo Tolstoy, Russia's greatest novelist, espoused many ideas and spiritual principles in his later life which formed the Tolstoyan movement. Christopher Plummer is magnificent as Tolstoy in his last days, and Helen Mirren, is, as usual, truly memorable. A battle is going on in the film between Mirren as the Countess wife of Tolstoy versus Paul Giametti, at his nastiest, playing the head of the Tolstoyan movement. He wants the copyrights to the master's works to go to the Russian people, while she wants the rights to go to her and the family.
She hectors her husband not to give in to Giamatti and deny the family the income from his work. It's a titanic struggle among Plummer, Mirren, and Giamatti that forms the basis for the story. The Tolstoys have been married for forty-three years and have had a number of children. Even though Tolstoy dressed in peasant garb, they still lived a privileged life with many servants.
Giamatti gets a Tolstoy disciple, played with great skill and artistry by actor James McAvoy to become Tolstoy's secretary and spy on the wife. Celibacy is one of the guiding principles of the movement, but on the commune he quickly falls for a young woman and forgoes his vow. Mirren walks a thin line, avoiding shrewishness in her battle, and showing her true love for her husband. Their love scenes together show true chemistry. The rooster and hen scene is great fun.
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35 of 40 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars War and Peace February 24, 2010
Format:Blu-ray
If you've read War and Peace and Anna Karenina or any other works by Tolstoy, the idea of a film about the great Russian author's fascinating latter years as he disavowed his earlier writings for deep religious principles and social reform is an intriguing prospect, but I'm sure there can't be too many others similarly thrilled by the notion.

It is a strange subject to make a film around, there's no denying that, and indeed The Last Station - based around the struggle over the publishing rights of his entire works between Tolstoy's favourite disciple Chertkov (who wants them to be given freely to the people) and the Countess Sofya (who believes they belong to the family and herself who have supported the Count over the years) - isn't the most dramatically thrilling of situations. To add variety to the constant back and forth battles, showdowns and shouting matches between Chertkov and the Countess over the terms of Tolstoy's will, there is a conventional romance thrown in between naïve new disciple Bulgakov and the rather more worldly Masha on Tolstoy's commune.

Despite the fact that nearly all the situations take place around him between the other protagonists, Tolstoy however rightly retains the strongest position in the film, a fact that can be attributed almost entirely to a convincing performance by Christopher Plummer. While performances are equally as good elsewhere from Helen Mirren, James McAvoy, Paul Giamatti and John Sessions (particularly Mirren), it's hard not to see them as indeed "performances" by well-known and respected actors, whereas Plummer completely inhabits his role and convinces as Tolstoy, putting real character behind the man's revolutionary ascetic, pacifistic ideals.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Easy transation
Great movie, easy transaction
Published 27 days ago by john goss
5.0 out of 5 stars good story
wonderful touching enjoyable film...recommend it
Published 29 days ago by Robert and Jo Anna Oldani
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
great
Published 29 days ago by donna rubino
4.0 out of 5 stars "...You're What I Came To Find..." - The Last Station on BLU RAY
In the last two decades of his life - the author of "War And Peace" and "Anna Karenina" - wasn't just the most famous writer in the world - Leo Tolstoy was the inspiration for an... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Mark Barry
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting
I was not aware that Tolstoy's last months were spent in a political movement that rejected all notions of private property. Read more
Published 6 months ago by mr. contrarian
2.0 out of 5 stars Will never know...
Will never know if the movie is good since I am unable to watch it on my computer, on one program it says I need a special decoder, on the Sonny one when I press Play, the whole... Read more
Published 8 months ago by J. Mueller
5.0 out of 5 stars The last Station ...do Not Miss it!
Okay... I love Helen M and Christopher P and Paul G. I didn't know I loved K. Condon... but I sure as heck do! James McAvoy... wow. The movie is so satisfying. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Bob North
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoy going back in time!
I throughly enjoyed this movie. It gives you a glimpse of the past and how people lived back then. It also gives insight into the life of Leo Tolstoy.
Published 10 months ago by Whispering Hills
3.0 out of 5 stars A Short story spun out to not much
Bottom line first: the Last Station consists of many good pieces. There's some wonderful acting some beautiful scenery a couple of ideas to kick around but there's not enough here... Read more
Published 13 months ago by Phred
5.0 out of 5 stars Tolstoy Does It Again!
Gosh, a whole movie about a famous writer that's actually true? The Last Station follows almost to the letter the pithy and brilliant essay about Tolstoy by Paul Johnson in his... Read more
Published 17 months ago by L. K. Julow
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