The Writer's Life: Film & Book Reviews, Observations, and Stories
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178

A line of shadow
Resembles a headless ghoul
Until light strikes it.

April 15, 2009   Comments Off on 178

The Last Word

The movie The Last Word is rather—dare I use this word—cute. Given its funereal premise, I’m not sure how this can be, but perhaps that’s part of the “magic” of the film. Starring Winona Ryder, Wes Bentley, and Ray Romano, it premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and received positive reviews.

The plot is odd but works, mostly because Wes Bentley is so well cast as a reclusive writer making his living composing other people’s suicide notes. When he meets Ryder, the sister of a recently deceased client, a strange and tumultuous love affair ensues. Ray Romano adds comic relief as one of Bentley’s clients who can’t quite pull the trigger.

I like the film because it’s about the poetry of words, and a man who is obsessed with them. The director, Geoffrey Haley, isn’t afraid to focus on language in the way an Elizabethan might. For example, the opening scene is a voice-over of one of Bentley’s long and lovely poems.

By the way, the photo above is a screenshot of our hero sitting in his chair on the roof among hooded air vents turning their heads this way and that in response to the wind. It’s kind of how the film is—weird, whimsical, and oddly affecting at the same time.

April 15, 2009   Comments Off on The Last Word