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Thursday, June 23, 2011

Historical Figures Via Film

Although my experience with films about historical figures has been mixed, last night I thoroughly enjoyed "The Last Station", a film about the final days of Leo Tolstoy. If anyone who reads this posting has seen it, I'm curious to know your reaction.

Aside from the exceptional lead performances throughout by Christopher Plummer & Helen Mirren, I was most moved early in the film in a scene featuring James McAvoy and Plummer. McAvoy plays a young secretary/assistant who, upon finally meeting Tolstoy, finds himself overcome with emotion when the "master" asks about his writing. The always dependable Paul Giamatti also has a crucial supporting role as a longtime friend to Count Tolstoy and nemesis to the Countess.

What was the last film, based on a historical figure, that you liked a great deal? How about one that really disappointed you? For me, "The Last Station" is now among my favorites in this genre. And, I'm really looking forward to someone making a film based on Hillary Mantel's 2009 novel "Wolf Hall", which simultaneously de-constructs the life of Thomas Moore (the "man for all seasons") while re-counting the life of Thomas Cromwell. Which historical figure are you waiting to see depicted via film?  

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