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Last Word, The


Stars: Shirley MacLaine, Amanda Seyfried, Anne Heche, AnnJewel Lee Dixon, Tom Everett Scott, Philip Baker Hall, Thomas Sadoski, Steven Culp, Todd Louiso, Millicent Martin

Director: Mark Pellington

This could have been a real heartwarmer if only the script had been up to it. Obituary writer Anne Sherman (Seyfried) is dragooned by cranky Harriet Lauler (MacLaine) into writing her death notice in advance.

The only problem is that octogenarian Harriet seems to be the most hated woman in the city, described by one of of her former acquaintances as 'like a human black cloud'. Sherman can't find anyone to say a good word about her, and Harriet's daughter (Heche) reputedly hates her and hasn't seen her for years.

Harriet is not impressed with the first draft of the obituary. 'You're gonna shape a legacy,' she tells Anne, 'instead of transcribing it.'

To help things along, Harriet has her own bucket list: she sponsors a foul-mouthed nine-year-old black kid (Dixon) and improbably demands, and gets a job aa a deejay at a local radio station. Anne also takes her meet her long-estranged daughter - a strange confrontation that Heche as the daughter is unable to do anything with.

It is only MacLaine in fact who's in charge of the flimsy material here. The wide-eyed Seyfried can't seem to get a handle on her role (her final speech really doesn't work) and the kid Dixon is just annoying. Male roles are ill-defined ciphers.

David Quinlan

USA 2016. UK Distributor: Vertigo. Colour by deluxe.
107 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 2.

Review date: 01 Jul 2017