The Last Word

2017-10-13 06:02

What it's about:

Harriet Lauler is a once-successful businesswoman in tight control of every aspect of her life. As she reflects upon her life’s accomplishments, she’s suddenly inspired to engage a young local writer, Anne Sherman, to pen her life story. When the initial result doesn’t meet Harriet’s high expectations, she sets out to reshape the way she is remembered, with Anne dragged along as an unwilling accomplice. As the journey unfolds, the two women develop a unique bond that alters not only Harriet’s legacy, but also Anne’s future.

What we thought:

I am not sure how big obituaries still are in the post-print world of social media , where Facebook becomes your shrine of memories after you pass away. Luckily that little detail doesn’t impact too much on the enjoyment of The Last Word, a quirky look at the kind of legacy we leave behind.

I am sure many have had a few existential moments of panic about how people will remember them, but at least most of us don’t feel like writing our obituaries prematurely. It’s not always the best thing for a film when it’s entirely dependent on one actor, but this film is small enough where it doesn’t really matter, and Shirley MacLaine is still hilarious at the age of 83.

A bitter woman (MacLaine) with few real relationships start contemplating suicide to escape her boredom, but her controlling nature moves her to make sure she’s content with how she will be remembered. She enlists an unwilling local obituary writer (Amanda Seyfried) who struggles with her own insecurities about where her life is going.

Although predictable, MacLaine is the real drawcard for this film, a force that can take a weak script and plump it up until it looks presentable enough for an audience to want to devour. You pretty much drink in her presence, and whenever she wasn’t onscreen you see how boring the story could have been without her. Luckily it’s a tentative film that knows its limitations and you don’t feel cheated out of your time. It’s quirky and can make you laugh out loud, but you probably won’t remember all the jokes after a few hours.

Seyfried was a little less impressive, and continues with that deer-stuck-in-the-headlights role where she can’t figure her life out and prefers to be stuck writing about other people’s lives. Her development is pretty ordinary and only wins points with her final pivotal obituary for the cantankerous woman. The mini-MacLaine kid (AnnJewel Lee Dixon) who is tasked by the old hag to be inspired by her was quite a classic and a bright young actress.

Although it has a male director, it’s a woman-driven story with men as the side characters without real impact on the story. 

The Last Word is a quiet film that won’t really make a big splash but it’s still a delightful watch if you don’t know what you want to watch at the cinema. A big woman cast, a light (ish) story and a couple of well-hit one-liners is a good combo if you’re looking for something to watch with your mom or your more feminine friends, but is by no means a chick flick. It’s more a chick flick that grew up and focused more on the relationships between woman rather than romantic endeavours.

Read more on:    amanda seyfried  |  movies

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