Sony Pictures

Helen Mirren, Christopher Plummer

This was a hard movie to watch.  It could have been a lot better. The story covers the last years of Tolstoy’s life, and as such doesn’t quite cut it as a biopic of Tolstoy’s life.  It’s more about Tolstoy’s death.

There are lots of minor stories going on here, and people who glom onto someone’s fame to try to be famous themselves by being near someone famous, but Tolstoy takes all of the devoted followers with a grain of salt.  If they’re trying to preach to us, that doesn’t quite work either.

Obviously this is finally about two people who really love each other who can’t seem to stand each other.  Tolstoy’s wife obviously sees him being used and taken advantage of by these devout followers, and is concerned that he is giving away everything for nothing.  He, on the other hand, doesn’t like to be told what to do and has a fierce independence in his own mind, but is trying to be stubborn enough to never give in.

Finally he’s had enough and decides to simply run away, which has the feel of a 10 year old slamming the door and walking down the street hoping and hoping that Mom or Dad will come running begging them to come back.

I can see why these roles were recognized by the Academy Awards as both Helen Mirren and Christopher Plummer gave riveting performances.   This is the kind of film that makes me sigh when the credits roll and then fire up Wikipedia to look up Tolstoy to get more info on him.  This guy wrote War and Peace, but who WAS he REALLY?

Although it didn’t blow me away, and at times very slow,  I’m still glad I watched it.  It’s educational.  🙂

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