A few years before the Russian Revolution Mr. Tolstoy was still alive. Yes that Tolstoy – author of many great tomes including War and Peace. The dichotomy of the way people lived in his native country disturbed him so deeply that he was determined to do something to help. His wife, who was soul mate and comrade in life, disagreed with his decisions, seeing them somehow as a personal attack on her.
This movie is about the end of Tolstoy’s life and his relationships with his wife, and a few others around him including one of their daughters. It is easy for us to dismiss his concerns and we saw how communism wreaked havoc on what became the Soviet Union, but at the time it was still very idealistic and Tolstoy was a brilliant man not given to impulsive ideas. He literally comes to despise the wealth that his family enjoys. Christopher Plummer plays the lead and, to be honest, so well next to the impeccable Helen Mirren. The antagonist is played by Paul Giamatti who is suitably creepy and yet truly you get the sense that the character feels he is doing the right thing. I certainly wouldn’t want him touching me though – slimy and so perfectly so.
Not only extremely entertaining but you get a little history lesson thrown in here too. Real life couple Ann-Marie Duff and James McAvoy round out this extraordinary cast to make a movie that is well worth your time. I recommend it for all but beware there is a scene which is not suitable for kids.