DVD: The Last Station (15)

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The Independent Culture

"You all think he's Christ! He thinks he's Christ!" cries an exasperated Countess Tolstoy (regally Slavic Helen Mirren) of her husband and his devoted disciples, including Valentin, played with heaps of blue-eyed charm by James McAvoy.

We meet Tolstoy on his estate, contemplating his own final chapter. Eschewing the fripperies of great literature, he has put on a tunic and peasant boots to live out his ideals of agriculture and asceticism – much to the dismay of his aristocratic, passionate wife. At heart, the film is less a battle of ideas than a soppy love story – all swooning strings and whispers in dappled fields. Christopher Plummer twinkles as Tolstoy while Mirren gives her histrionic best/ worst. Oscar nominations followed for both. As epic romances go, though, it's no Anna Karenina.

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