The Last Word - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Last Word Reviews

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June 21, 2017
I like this movie. really touching.
June 18, 2017
This is such a special movie about letting go and living life. Everyone wants to be remembered and we choose how those we know remember us.
June 16, 2017
Haha this was great .
June 11, 2017
I thought it was a great movie! Really had a lot of emotion
June 9, 2017
,oh my what a slow moving awful movie. I want my money back.
½ June 8, 2017
The Last Word: This gimmicky tale, about a cranky old woman trying to leave a legacy in her final days, works only for one reason: Shirley MacLaine. When her control freak character hires the local newspaper obit writer (Amanda Seyfried) to help her rewrite her legacy, an unusual friendship develops. Yes, the film is loaded with overly cutesy and ridiculously unrealistic scenarios, but its feel good message is an important one - that a life filled with risks and mistakes is a life worth living. MacLaine is stellar. B
June 4, 2017
Good message that could have been delivered in 1:30 not 2 hours
June 1, 2017
Loved it! Harriet is my spirit animal. The building of a successful career against the all odds, the fearlessness and impatience for incompetence, the ability to see the potential in everyone around you and be personally angered at its waste, the internal responsibility of raising a family, and always taking purposeful control of the next phase in our lives. Omg. The onslaught of those less than visionaries to grasp the empowerment that comes with an unending world view.
May 30, 2017
Loved it! Heart warming story. Nice to see something that wasn't filled with car chases, violence, or monsters lol. I laughed and cried.
May 29, 2017
Fun movie, kind of a chick flick. Nice interplay between Seyfried and McClain.
½ May 20, 2017
Shirley MacLaine brengt veel pep tot de rol waarin ze lekker mag spelen met het donkere idee van overlijden en dat samen als reis te willen maken met de persoon die je doodsbericht aan het schrijven is. Lichte kost, maar wel de soort die goed te verteren is.
April 20, 2017
I was looking forward to seeing it, and then... was let down. I liked it, but didn't even come close to loving it. Something was just too predictable. Shirley MacLaine is awesome in what will probably be one of her last roles, and I am sure we will see more of AnnJewel Lee Dixon in the future. But Amanda Seyfried? Seemed mis-cast to me. I loved her in Mamma Mia but found her lacking here. Where did she come from? Why was she still in the same town as her dad? Wasn't there any college time where she would have been soul-searching? (It was mentioned in the film that she had worked there for 7 years, but must have had some journalism background). The close-ups of her googly-eyed stare were just annoying to me.

And plot holes / Weirdness abounds. Brenda was just allowed on a road-trip? And was a "problem child" because she reorganizes library books? An old lady walks into a radio station and is instantly on-air? Amanda can record-shop during the workday? Maybe some scenes ended up on the cutting floor, but there were some strange jumps to me. I liked the snarly scenes with Anne Heche.

To sum up: a good rental, but not worth the big screen.
April 11, 2017
critics - I've seen the film, I understand your shame. I'm not a risk taker either, but I'm mature enough to recognize the dull life I've led. It's a good film, with a wonderful message for young and old!
April 11, 2017
The world deserved to see Shirley Mclaine in all her Glory. Well acted by all. Loved it!
April 9, 2017
This was a wonderful movie that made me laugh a lot and cry. What a great message it had. Definitely recommend it!
April 8, 2017
Though my praise for this sweet, introspective film's message was clearly missed by the apathetic 'experts" in the industry. I am certain they did not view the same film I did. I thought this film projected an incredible message of love and humor while tugging at the heartstrings in the most endearing way. The message of having days that matter that lead up to a life that matters is truly what it is all about. Go see this film. It will have you laughing and crying simultaneously. It was a great cast with an incredible soundtrack to match. Already have it downloaded on spotify. Great writing from an incredible new screenwriter. Love love love.
April 8, 2017
I loved this one. I smiled through much of it & laughed quite a bit. It made me want to live my life in a way that creates an interesting obituary.
April 5, 2017
Loved it, less cursing would be better.
April 3, 2017
Actress Shirley MacLaine has had quite a career - and an interesting life. She was ahead of her time in being a very independent-minded career woman... and developed a reputation for being difficult to work with. She had a decades-long marriage which ended in divorce, but produced one child, a daughter. In her later years, she has remained active in trying to shape her legacy, which is clearly seen in her 2017 comedy-drama "The Last Word" (R, 1:48). Advertising executive Harriet Lauler has had quite a career - and an interesting life. She was ahead of her time in being a very independent-minded career woman... and developed a reputation for being difficult to work with. She had a decades-long marriage which ended in divorce, but produced one child, a daughter. In her later years, she has become active in trying to shape her legacy, which is what the 2017 comedy-drama "The Last Word" is all about. Now, art-imitating-life parallels aside, playing Harriet serves to remind us how busy MacLaine has remained, on screens big and small, even as her 70s drifted into her 80s - and what a singular talent she remains.

"Control is very important to Harriet," one character observes. That's an understatement - and an incomplete one too. Not only has Harriet Lauler (Shirley MacLaine) always exerted control over as many parts of her life as possible, she was always been very disagreeable as she did so. Years ago, she angrily quit the ad agency that she helped to found because she didn't like how one of her clients conducted a focus group. She once told her gynecologist(!), "When I want your opinion, I'll give it to you." Her parish priest even admits, "I hated her. So much." These days, Harriet's retired. She lives alone in her big house and exerts her brand of rude control by chastising her gardener for trimming her hedges from top to bottom, instead of from bottom to top, as she has instructed him, "many times" he admits with a sigh. Then, when she reads someone's obituary in her local newspaper, she finds something else to control.

Harriet visits the paper's offices and asks the editor, Ronald Odom (Tom Everett Scott), to introduce her to the obituary writer, Anne Sherman (Amanda Seyfried). Sitting behind Ronald's desk, Harriet gives Anne the assignment to write her obituary now, so she can be sure she'll be satisfied with what will be published about her in the newspaper after she is gone. Ronald tells Anne that Harriet had been a great friend to the paper when she did ads for Ronald's father and implies that she might remember the paper in her will. "Make her happy," is Ronald's simple instruction to Anne, who reluctantly gets to work. The problem is that there just isn't much to say about Harriet beyond her past career accomplishments - and Anne can't find a single person to say anything nice about her - even from the list of names that she received from Harriet herself. Naturally, Harriet is dissatisfied with Anne's first draft - and tells her so.

Harriet has read a number of obituaries and determined that there are four things that make a good obituary: a loving family, the respect of co-workers, touching the life of someone who needs a helping hand and... a wild card, something unique in the life of the deceased that provides the proverbial icing on the cake. Harriet knows that Anne won't write anything about Harriet that is not truthful, so she gets Anne to help her "shape a legacy". Without giving away how all of this shakes out, I'll just say that this journey puts Harriet and Anne in touch with Harriet's ex-husband (Phillip Baker Hall), Harriet's estranged daughter (Anne Heche), a former co-worker (Joel Murray), an at-risk youth (AnnJewel Lee Dixon) and a charming disc jockey (Thomas Sadoski). And as the two women work together on Harriet's unusual project, she does some unwelcome, but well-intentioned meddling in Anne's personal life as well.

"The Last Word" is a relatively original and very well-done genre film. Sure, it's formulaic, but movies use formulas for a reason. The real question is whether the film tells its story effectively and this one definitely does. The script from Stuart Ross Fink (writing his first feature) creates a fresh take on the trope of examining a life not-so-well-lived and gives us interesting characters. The excellent actors bring out the nuances in those characters and director Mark Pellington ("Arlington Road", "The Mothman Prophecies") gives the film a great balance of comedy, drama, life lessons and just plain fun. The film's ending may be predictable, but getting there is a very rewarding experience. Movie Fans (especially fans of Ms. MacLaine) will likely be thankful that, with other projects in the works, this film won't be the last word in Shirley MacLaine's stellar career. It also makes us look forward to much more to come from the talented Seyfried, the spunky newcomer Dixon and rookie writer Fink, with this impressive debut. This great mix of well-established talent with others just starting out makes for one enjoyable film. "A-"
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