Mark Pellington is firmly in touch with his feminine side. It was one of the first thing he talked about when I interviewed him on February 27, 2017. We went on riff on the psychology of the characters in THE LAST WORD, muse on making an entertaining film with substance, and the legacy of the women’s movement.
We finished up with Pellington dealing with personal loss via the film’s themes, trusting the process of creation, and by paying eloquent tribute to the power of words, both spoken and written.
THE LAST WORD is a film about endings, beginnings, and the warmth of imperfection. Shirley MacLaine stars as Harriet Lauler, an octogenarian who has spent her life controlling everything around her. The result is a perfectly ordered and completely sterile life. When Harriet decides to control her obituary the way she has controlled everything else, she crosses paths with Ann Sherman, the obituary writer at the local paper. Unsatisfied with Anne’s first draft, the one she wrote after talking to everyone in Harriet’s orbit, who all hate her, Harriet takes an orderly approach to changing her life, Anne in tow, in order to leave a different mark on those around her and thereby rewrite both her obituary and her legacy. The film co-stars Amanda Seyfried, Philip Baker Hall, Thomas Sadowski, Gedde Watanabe, Tom Everett Scott, and Ann’Jewel Lee as the at-risk kid who is more than a match for Harriet. Pellington directed from a script by Stuart Ross Fink, and his previous work includes more music videos than I can list, the feature films ARLINGTON ROAD and HENRY POOLE IS HERE, as well as bringing both UNITED STATES OF POETRY and BLINDSPOT to television.