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Parents' Guide to

The Last Station

By S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Mature Tolstoy biopic recounts his conflicted last days.

Movie R 2009 112 minutes
The Last Station Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

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Is It Any Good?

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First, the visuals: Gorgeous. Russia is verdant in spring, majestic in the winter. And then there's the acting. To watch The Last Station is to witness three superb thespians flexing their muscles: Plummer gives an accomplished turn as the legendary writer; Mirren is a riveting spitfire as Sofya, and McAvoy impresses as the spectator to their operatic fights and quietly moving moments as man and wife. Their combined talents are why we go to the movies in the first place. Nearly all of the other characters in this riveting historical drama are also written well, though Giamatti's Chertkov is a fuzzy rendering. He's made more villainous than necessary, perhaps for cinematic tension.

Though the arguments so painstakingly painted here sometimes reach daytime-drama levels -- plates are thrown, voices boom! -- The Last Station ultimately does succeed, primarily by re-emphasizing Tolstoy's enormous reach and profound gifts. In a world teeming with superficialities -- including writers who rely on trickery rather than wisdom and insight -- it's a welcome reminder.

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