The last year of novelist Leo Tolstoy’s life is played out in the film The Last Station, which arrived in UK theaters today. The drama, which opened in the U.S. last month, stars Christopher Plummer as the literary icon and Helen Mirren as his wife and muse, Sofya Andreyevna—both of whom have garnered Oscar nominations for their performances.
Based on a novel by Jay Parini, The Last Station unfolds Tolstoy’s tumultuous final months in 1910 as his disciple, Vladimir Chertkov (Paul Giamatti), attempts to persuade the writer to ignore Sofya’s wishes and sign a new will leaving the rights to his literary works to the state for the benefit of the Russian people. Chertkov installs a spy in Tolstoy’s household, a young man who falls in love with one of the writer’s daughters.
The Last Station was filmed in Germany, but the ancestral estate, Yasnaya Polyana, where Tolstoy spent his final years is located in the Russian countryside 112 miles south of Moscow. “I could hardly imagine Russia, or my relationship with her, without my Yasnaya Polyana,” he once wrote. Today it’s preserved as the Tolstoy Estate Museum, and among the rooms on view are the writer’s 222,000-volume library and the study (right) where he penned War and Peace and Anna Karenina.
[photo ©The State Memorial and Natural Preserve/Museum-Estate of Leo Tolstoy]