Not the first time I’ve seen The Last Word, the sorta sappy and corny Shirley MacLaine film, but the cable is still out, and we had to work with what was available at Redbox. It is possible that, as a writer, I was able to look past that sticky sweet sentimentality and find some depths to plumb the first time around. But I am very aware that this isn’t a great movie. There are some gentle moments and I, like Amanda Seyfried’s journalist character, came to like the old bitch.
The plot is this: mean old rich lady Harriet draws close to the end of her life and wants an epic obituary published when she goes. Seyfried’s Anne is the best obit writer in town as well as a frustrated essayist who cannot seem to find her voice. Harriet and Anne agree four things make a great life story and set about filling in the gaps in Harriet’s tale. There’s some DJing (the music is great because I also love the Kinks), some mentoring of a troubled kid, some other stuff that’s equally preposterous. What makes it all palatable is MacLaine’s acting ability because otherwise, The Last Word is just schmaltz. That’s no condemnation – sometimes you need schmaltz.
Really, really short review: Not terribly surprising or special. Catch it some Sunday afternoon when you’re home. Better yet, listen to the Kinks some Sunday afternoon when you’re home.