INTOXICATING. INFURIATING. IMPOSSIBLE. LOVE.
In 1910, Valentin Bulgakov (James McAvoy) finds himself in the middle of a battle between Sophia Tolstoy (Helen Mirren) and her husband’s (Christopher Plummer) most ardent disciples who are trying to take control of the author’s copyrights in the name of “the people”. Mirren and Plummer are very passionate as the Tolstoys (especially when they fight) and carry the film when the story becomes less intriguing – which happens whenever the director focuses on McAvoy’s character, the author’s latest and very inexperienced follower. Still, as a whole, the movie is entertaining and well produced, with a good music score.
2009-Germany-Russia-Britain. 113 min. Color. Widescreen. Written and directed by Michael Hoffman. Novel: Jay Parini. Music: Sergei Yevtushenko. Cast: James McAvoy (Valentin Bulgakov), Christopher Plummer (Leo Tolstoy), Helen Mirren (Sophia Tolstoy), Paul Giamatti, Anne-Marie Duff, Kerry Condon.
Trivia: Meryl Streep and Anthony Hopkins were allegedly first cast as the Tolstoys. McAvoy and Duff are married in real life.