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Mainstream - The Last Station

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The Last Station
Christopher Plummer, Helem Mirren, James McAvoy
Directed by Michael Hoffman
Sony Pictures Classics 2010
113 minutes

The Last Station is a superb romantic drama DVD with a pseudo biographical setup. Based on a novel by Jay Panini about Leon Tolstoy's last and tumultuous year, The Last Station stars Christopher Plummer and Helen Mirren as Tolstoy and his wife Sofya. Both Plummer and Mirren were nominated for an Academy Award. Last Station Blu-ray

The Last Station may be a made up story but it is difficult not to believe it as true.  Valentin (James McAvoy of Last King of Scotland) is hired to be Tolstoy's personal assistant by Chertkov (Paul Giamatti), leader of the Tolstoyan movement. The Tolstoyans are people who take what Tolstoy wrote about society and try to make it happen on a commune and through a social movement. Part of the problem is Tolstoy himself admits he is not a very good Tolstoyan.

Valentin soon discovers the Tolstoy's have a very complicated relationship. Tolstoy and his wife are very much in love but she is very much hurt by the idea Tolstoy wants sign away his copyright so that after his death his works become public domain, depriving the family of very serious income. Chertkov expects Valentin to report on Sofya so as to strengthten his position.

Valentin soon finds himself captivated by the relationship the Tolstoys and is unable to be the spy Chretkov wanted. There is also the fact Valentin falls in love with Masha and his discovery of love, matched with his understanding of the Tolstoy's relationship color his impressions.

The weak link in this movie is the Chertkov character and Giamatti. It is unclear who exactly Chertkov is and what is in it for him. Giamatti is reduced to fingering his mustache like a silent movie era villain to show Chertkov is bad.

The Last Train Station is a complicated but not convoluted or hard to follow romantic drama DVD.

Special features include a commentary track with Plummer and Mirren, a commentary track with director Hoffman (both available subtitled during the movie), something akin to a blooper reel, deleted scenes, and a clip from the AFI Salute to Christopher Plummer.

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