What riches can be mined by making a story about a master storymaker!Here, the floating objects come from the soul of the writer's workshaving become disembodied from the fleshweaving passions that fueledit. Here, that soul is literally appropriated by a committee andmanaged to the detriment of the man and marriage that were the channel.It is a strong river to mine for drama, a river in the original flowfrom the artist, the secondary flow within the public that is takenfrom him (denoted by document signing!) and the tertiary flow in whatcomes to us.
I found the film a bit too predictable: we have an on screen surrogateobserver who learns the lesson of holding onto his passion in spite ofthe attraction of the words-as-being. Though I admit that the keyactors were effective and I wallowed as intended, the form of the filmwas as simple and formulaic as the appropriation of the works that itovertly criticized. So I left the movie strangely feeling dirty as ifit had tricked me into being a thief and revealed me as such.
The music was too much of past Russian film epics for me. Costuming isludicrous.
But just to competently be caught in that river powered by love, madethrough words, remade as image and received again in passion that isworth it no matter the cost in compromise.
Ted's Evaluation -- 3 of 3: Worth watching.
The only five minutes of the movie worth watching are the last fiveminutes of the movie. The rest is of such substandard quality that Icould not justify showing it on TV, not even at three o'clock in themorning.
In all, the first 45 minutes are nothing more than a collage ofclich?s. The rest is not much better.
I suppose the movie could have been saved by weaving-in-between theplot lines some of the works of Lev Tolstoy, but there isn't one singlequote or even a reference to his works in all 120 minutes!
I'm very surprised about the relatively high marks given by otherviewers on this site. The only explanation for this I could come-upwith is that at age 40 I was the youngest person at the theater. So I'mguessing that older people must be not as discriminating as I am, moretolerant of a movie without a plot line.
Whilst most recent TV production values and budgets are of a muchhigher quality than what they used to be a few year's ago, this filmappears to have been produced with those tatty old style TV productionvalues. The excellent cast of actors do their very best with thesomewhat superficial thin script, but this period piece deserved alarger and more epic scale treatment than what it obtained from thisproduction. Leo Tolstoy is one of the most influential icons of ourmodern epoch, and his writing helped shape the mind of people such asGhandi and Martin Luther King, but you will not understand how this wasat all possible after seeing how Tolstoyans are portrayed in this film.Whilst the main subject matter is the relationship between the coupleand Tolstoy's ideals and admirers, the latter are treated as some sortof cult, with few redeeming qualities. This undermines and detractsfrom the main debate and understanding of Tolstoy's ideas. A LostOpportunity - this could only have really disappointed the great man!User: writers_reign
As a non-Russian with no known biological links to the place and agrasp of Russian History, Politics, Literature that - apart from a loveof Chekhov - is at best tenuous, I can only write of this film in themost general terms. All technical - writing, directing, photography etc- and acting credits are spot on so we are left, as it were, to turnTolstoy's own observation on families - roughly all happy ones arehappy in the same way whilst all unhappy ones are unhappy in differentways - back on himself. What we have here, in the last year ofTolstoy's life, is an unhappy family albeit only three members, Tolstoyhimself, wife Sofya, and just one of his thirteen children, are wheeledout for inspection. The basic conflict concerns the great man's legacyand/or the copyright in his works. Perhaps understandably Sofya thinkscharity begins at home and wants the copyright to pass to her butTolstoy has come under the influence of Bertkov, who wants MotherRussia to benefit. On paper there doesn't seem much to work up a sweatabout but this remains an engrossing film not least because of theacting led by Helen Mirren and Christopher Plummer as Sofya and Levwith strong support from Paul Giamatti as Bertkov, Ann-Marie Duff asdaughter Sasha and her real-life husband John McAvoy as Bulgakov. Tooclassy for the Multiplex it's got Art House written all over it andthere are definitely several Oscar-worthy aspects in evidence.User: Eaglegrafix
Because of "War and Peace" even those of us who had never read it oreven seen the movie or knew that he was a Count thought we knew whoCount Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy was. He was the Russian author thatwrote that immense tome. We are wrong, unless we are a scholar andstudent of Russian life, history and literature, we've never know whoLeo Tolstoy was.
Revered in his time and and by the Russians still today, Tolstoy was i