The Last Station

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The Last Station

Michael Hoffman (2009)

15 Certificate


Our Score
This true-story drama about Leo Tolstoy's final days boasts a fascinating premise and a fine cast, but ends up delivering less than the sum of its parts. Christopher Plummer looks great as the Russian writer, complete with peasant's garb and flowing, white beard. The sparks fly between him and Helen Mirren as Countess Sofya Tolstoy as they argue violently over the posthumous rights to his works. He's been convinced (by Paul Giamatti's scheming acolyte) to leave them to the people; she wants them for the family, full stop. Their scenes have the energy of a Russian Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, but are diluted by the recurring focus on James McAvoy's character. McAvoy may deliver another fine performance as secretary Valentin Bulgakov, but the role still doesn't manage to generate a great deal of interest. And while Michael Hoffman's direction is acceptable, it ultimately fails to pull the package together and lacks the inspiration his stars and his subject clearly have in spades.


A naive young man is appointed as the private secretary to the ageing Leo Tolstoy in 1910, but finds himself in the middle of a bitter conflict. The writer has embraced strong socialist and pacifist principles and wishes to leave everything to the people - but his wife does not want to give up his legacy. Period drama, with James McAvoy, Christopher Plummer and Helen Mirren.

Cast & Crew

Sofya Tolstoy Helen Mirren
Leo Tolstoy Christopher Plummer
Valentin Bulgakov James McAvoy
Vladimir Chertkov Paul Giamatti
Sasha Tolstoy Anne-Marie Duff
Masha Kerry Condon
Dushan John Sessions
Sergeyenko Patrick Kennedy
Andrey Tomas Spencer
Director Michael Hoffman
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Other Information

Language: EnglishColourTheatrical distributor: OptimumGuidance: Swearing, sex scenes, nudity.Available on: DVD and Blu-rayReleased on: 19 Feb 2010