The Last Word

 

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Shirley MacLaine triumphs in a rare leading role, albeit in a thin and often predictable comedy-drama.

 

Last Word, The

Tall tales: Amanda Seyfried, Shirley MacLaine and and Annjewel Lee Majestic Dixon 

  

Shirley MacLaine is on superlative form in a rare leading role (these days), playing Harriet Laurer, a successful and now retired businesswoman who is used to controlling everything around her. Now again she wants to have the last word and have her obituary written in advance for the papers. So she hires a local journalist, Anne Sherman (Amanda Seyfried), to write her life story. However, in order to be remembered as a kind and charitable woman, she dictates her life from her own point of view, even if she has to tweak the facts along the way...

 

Director Mark Pellington wisely puts the emphasis on the relationship between the two women who share a lovely chemistry. There is also a truly memorable scene in a restaurant with Harriet’s estranged daughter Elizabeth (superbly played by Anne Heche). However, its one idea story feels over-extended and eventually it becomes predictable, while most of the other characters, particularly the men, are thinly sketched. Still, it is good to see the delectable Shirley MacLaine in her element chewing the scenery at every opportunity in this enjoyable antidote to the mindless summer blockbusters.

 

GEORGE SAVVIDES

 

Cast: Shirley MacLaine, Amanda Seyfried, Anne Heche, Tom Everett Scott, Thomas Sadoski, Joel Murray, Adina Porter, Phillip Baker Hall, Steven Culp, Todd Louiso, Annjewel Lee Majestic Dixon.

 

Dir Mark Pellington, Pro Mark Pellington, Anne Marie MacKay, Kirk D’Amico and Aaron Magnani, Screenplay Stuart Ross Fink, Ph Eric Koretz, Pro Des Richard Hoover, Ed Julia Wong, Music Nathan Matthew David, Costumes Alix Hester.

 

Wondros/Myriad Pictures/Aaron Magnani Productions-Vertigo Releasing.

107 mins. USA. 2017. Rel: 7 July 2017. Cert. 15.