The Last Word Review: A Real Feel Good Film
The Last Word starring the wonderful Shirley MacLaine is in limited release in Los Angeles and New York this week. The film tells the story of Harriet Lauler (Shirley MacLaine), an extremely unlikable person who is on a mission to see to it that her obituary is one of great respect and importance. Being the ultimate control freak, she sets out to find the obituary writer, a young girl named Anne (Amanda Seyfried). Harriet is abrasive, blunt, and relentless in her pursuit of what she wants. Anne is given the task of speaking to the friends, family, and co-workers, trying to piece together some kind things to say about Harriet. When she has difficulty finding anyone to say anything nice at all, Harriet determines that it is time, at 81 years old, to make a change. The two embark on a journey together, full of confronting the past, planning for the future, and even mentoring a young black girl named Brenda (AnnJewel Lee Dixon).
The Last Word is an amazing film that creeps up on you. You are slowly pulled into this story between a millennial struggling to find herself through writing, an old woman trying to pull the good out of her life despite her unlikability and a young black girl, unafraid to speak her mind. The story is beautiful and classic, making sure to remind the audience to enjoy life and live in the moment for yourself and yourself only.
Shirley MacLaine is at the top of her game as Harriet. She was relentless and a total blast to watch on the screen. Harriet took life by the horns and made it what she wanted it to be, all others be damned! What makes this film particularly poignant is that it focuses solely on women and women lifting each other up; women challenging each other and not sugar-coating everything. The film is unapologetically feminist and in the best way. The film weaves the theme throughout in a subtle and beautiful way without shoving it down your throat. We first see Harriet as a mean and unlikable woman but learn more about her as a person and what hurdles she had to overcome as a woman in her field.
Amanda Seyfried is perfect as Anne. She perfectly embodies that lost disgruntled millennial who is looking for meaning in her life. Her performance balanced so well with Shirley, and they had perfect chemistry on screen. Add into the mix Miss AnnJewel Lee Dixon as Brenda, and it was the trifecta of incredible women; none of them perfect but challenging each other to be better.
The Last Word is a funny, poignant, and emotional ride. Shirley MacLaine, Amanda Seyfried, and AnnJewel Lee Dixon are phenomenal together and remind us of the importance of friendship, feminism, and pure fun.