#REVIEW: “THE LAST WORD”
Review by Amanda Gilmore for Mr. Will Wong
The Last Word follows Harriet Lauler (Shirley MacLaine) who is cruel to anyone who comes in contact with her and takes control of everything around her. But now in the later years of her life, she begins to ponder death, what people will say when she’s gone, and who will remember her. One night she stumbles on the Obituary Pages in her local newspaper and she comes up with an idea. She meets with the obituary writer, Anne Sherman (Amanda Seyfried), and orders her to write her obituary. But there’s a catch. Harriet wants her obituary to be written before she dies. This meeting results in a friendship between the women and changes the course of both Anne and Harriet’s lives.
The Film has a lot of heart written in the script. Just like life, when things are tough and depressing, there is humour involved. And that is what Stuart Ross Fink does with his script. With themes of abandonment, control, depression and death it is rare to see a Film also provide laughter and comedy. But that’s what Fink accomplishes with his script and it is delicately handled through the direction of Mark Pellington. Fink and Pellington also do a wonderful job of creating fully fleshed out female roles and plunging them into leading characters. Yet, none of what Fink and Pellington achieve would work if it wasn’t for the casting of MacLaine and Seyfried.
They are wonderful together on the screen and they are both doing double duty on the Film listed as Executive Producers. MacLaine plays Harriet with a fearlessness that only she can accomplish. She makes Harriet believable by making her complex. She is never just one thing. She is cruel and kind, sad and happy all at the same time. And Seyfried is wonderful opposite her. She is extremely indecisive and filled with self-doubt. Therefore, the two characters compliment each other and learn more about life through their growing bond and understanding of the other. In both also being Executive Producers it comes as no shock that the characters are both multi-dimensional and powerful female roles.
Overall, The Last Word might not offer anything entirely unique nor original, but it does a great job of bringing two powerful female leads to the forefront as well as a great story about living life instead of just coasting on autopilot throughout.
Elevation Pictures release THE LAST WORD on Friday, March 10, 2017.