Director: Michael Hoffman Screenplay: Michael Hoffman, based on the novel by Jay Parini Cast: James McAvoy, Helen Mirren, Christopher Plummer, Paul Giamatti Time: 113min Age Restriction: 13SN
The Last Station is a biting satire about discovering one's own voice, ideas and opinions from amongst all that you've been taught.
Valentin Bulgakov (James McAvoy) is a naive, over-eager, star-struck youth who has been granted the sought-after position of Leo Tolstoy's (Christopher Plummer) personal secretary.
But as he gets to know Tolstoy, Valentin begins to see the downward spiral of his hero, as Tolstoy is torn between Sofia Tolstaya (Helen Mirren), the love of his life, and Vladimir Chertkov (Paul Giamatti), his colleague and dear friend, who has magnified Tolstoy's writings and musings into a teaching that has gained a cult following.
It dawns on Valentin that the ideals he himself follows religiously are simply one man's attempts at making sense of life.
The Last Station shows how the healthy revelation of one man can be turned into a destructive religious doctrine when in the wrong hands.
A wonderful, bittersweet film, The Last Station is filled with a mixture of wry, caustic humour and deep tragedy (it's just a pity about the graphic sex scene, which spawned my only reservations about an otherwise philosophical delight).