Recently, I had the opportunity to see this film based on the famous and gifted writer, Leo Tolstoy. For me, this film was a very interesting one to watch.
Since I’m a history buff, I do enjoy watching period pieces and history type movies. This one is no exception.
Basically, this film tells the story of the last days of Leo Tolstoy (played by Christopher Plummer). At the end of his life, it seems Tolstoy has grown to be a very bitter man – wanting to be away from society and find peace within himself.
The main conflict in the story lies with his wife, Sophia (played by Helen Mirren) who does not seem to understand Tolstoy’s views upon life and upon humankind. It shows a very love and hate relationship between the two.
So, you begin to see the conflict here. On one hand, you have Chertkov who is tries to influence Tolstoy to hand over his estate and all his money to his cause (aka the people) when he dies. And, on the other hand you have Tolstoy’s wife, Sophia, who is intent on having her family taken care of when Tolstoy passes away who constantly tries to suade Tolstoy to abandon his cause and support his family by leaving them with his fortune. So, the big issue at hand is a matter of Tolstoy’s will when he dies – who gets what, when and where.
Quite honestly, it was a bid sad to see all the quarreling in this film about Tolstoy’s will. In a way, to me it seemed a bit selfish and kind of hypocritical. Chertkov’s argument for Tolstoy’s fortune was that it would be for the people, but would it really be used for that cause? And, Sophia’s argument was that Tolstoy had a duty to take care of his family when he left this world. It seemed Tolstoy was left to be in quite a dilemma.
Bulgakov is young and very naive about the world. Though, he possesses a sense of innocence and goodness that reminded Tolstoy how he felt and how things were when he was a young man.
The dynamic between the old and the young and the views portrayed between generations is very nicely depicted – it gives you a sense of how sometimes you begin to see things in a different perspective as you grow older.
Overall, I think this film was descent. Since I enjoy period pieces and history type movies, I could be a bit biased. Though, this film is not for everyone. If you don’t really like these types of movies, it may not be for you.
For me, I especially enjoy autobiographical films – going into it I was interested in the subject matter. That is probably why I enjoyed the movie.
(Note: Now, that I’ve watched the film I’m interested in reading some of Tolstoy’s works. If anyone out there has read any of them, I would be interested in hearing your thoughts).
If you’re in the mood for a history type of film and enjoy period pieces, I think this one is worth taking a look.
Happy movie watching!
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Happy movie watching!