When the film opens, Tolstoy (Christopher Plummer) is ensconced in a remote villa in the Russian countryside with his family, servants, and a core group of acolytes. Tolstoy is like the Britney Spears of his day. As the most renowned novelist of the time, he’s stalked by a TMZ-like media posse who are camped out around his home. The pre-rev paparazzi hang on Tolstoy’s every word and keep their cameras rolling on the off chance of catching a bit of scandal. And scandal there is, in the raging battle going on between Tolstoy’s wife, Sofya (Helen Mirren) and a power-grabbing Tolstoy disciple Vladimir Chertkov, (Paul Giamatti) who dismisses their marriage as “romantic nonsense.” Observing these sensational doings is the gentle, sensitive Valentin Bulgakov (James McAvoy), recently hired as Tolstoy’s personal secretary. By the time Valentin arrives on the scene, Tolstoy is nothing less than a saint in Russian society whose opinions on sex, religion, and private property are followed like scripture. But Tolstoy is not entirely happy with how his ideas have been enacted as inflexible dogma by his followers. Below the surface, The Last Station
is a film about how beliefs, in the wrong hands, can be turned into ideological law and how Tolstoy’s humanist approach to social justice was perverted by his followers. The principle attraction of The Last Station
is its vivid, intense love affair between the battling elders Leo and Sofya, who put the tempestuous teens of Twilight
to shame with the depth of their passions. By the end of this emotional roller coaster of comedy and tragedy, and everything in between, your fondest longing may be for a way to repair this badly damaged relationship.