A Fascinating story - I hadn't a clue...
Released Jan. 15, 2010
2-22-10 at The Loft with Sheila
RT: 68% cag: 88%
Director: Michael Hoffman
James McAlvoy! ! ! Helen Mirren, Christopher Plummer
Leo Tolstoy, said to be the greatest writer of Russian Literature (War and Peace and Anna Karenina, was a Russian count who in later life denounced his wealth and earlier beliefs to become a pacifist and to renounce materialism. He married Sophia Bers, who would birth their 13 children and love him throughout their long married life together. However, their relationship in later years was a difficult one, though based on great sexual attraction from the start.
Enter Valentin Bulgakov (McAlvoy), a 24-year old idealist and follower of Tolstoy. When he was hired to become Tolstoy's secretary and aide it was like a dream-come-true for him. He watches the difficult, passionate passages between Tolstoy and Sophia, and falls for a lady-love of his own. He struggles inwardly about the Tolstoys - his employer and idol, whom he will always revere, and the woman whose pain is difficult to watch -- and bear. McAlvoy was magnificent. I can't believe he didn't get a best actor nomination. What am I missing? What an amazing acting job!
Helen Mirren (as Tolstoy's wife) was really something, too. She was actually quite funny, and played the range from demure wife to ranting , thwarted, iron-willed matriarch beautifully.
Fascinating movie. And although the huge Loft main theater was nowhere near full, it was the most people I've ever seen there - other than the special showing of Red Without Blue. Good popcorn, too. Good movie. Not a lot of action-adventure, but a good "thinker" to wrap your brain around.