Harriet is a retired businesswoman who tries to control everything around her. When she decides to write her own obituary, a young journalist takes up the task of finding out the truth resulting in a life-altering friendship.
Eloise, having been relieved of maid of honor duties after being unceremoniously dumped by the best man via text, decides to attend the wedding anyway, only to find herself seated with five fellow unwanted guests at the dreaded Table 19.
Harriet (Shirley MacLaine) is a successful, retired businesswoman who wants to control everything around her until the bitter end. To make sure her life story is told her way, she pays off her local newspaper to have her obituary written in advance under her watchful eye. But Anne (Amanda Seyfried), the young journalist assigned to the task, refuses to follow the script and instead insists on finding out the true facts about Harriett's life, resulting in a life-altering friendship. Written by
Anne initially refuses to write Harriet's obituary before she's dead, even though that convention only applies to *publishing* obituaries. Print & TV news media keep large collections of living obituaries, which have to be constantly updated. See more »
Fall on your face. Fail. Fail spectacularly. Because when you fail, you learn. When you fail, you live.
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The start of the movie is very touching. Baby, childhood, youth, and adult pictures of Shirley MacLaine are displayed over the opening credits, similar to a tribute to her at the Oscars after she's passed away (which we all hope will be many, many years in the future). Next, we are introduced to Shirley's character, an 81-year-old retired businesswoman who insists on having control over every aspect of her life. She trims her own hedges and improves dinner while her chef is cooking, but at the end of the day, she's enormously unhappy. She attempts suicide, but when she is revived, she has a sudden worry: she hasn't planned out her obituary yet!
Amanda Seyfried is the writer hired by Shirley to write her obituary before her death. Normally, a young female journalist character in a movie is written out to be utterly unlikable and ruins whatever scene she's in. I feared the same during The Last Word, however, as the movie progressed, she didn't wind up nearly as unlikable as I'd thought. And, given the choice of other actresses who could have been cast in the role (Emma Stone, Anna Kendrick, etc), I was very happy with Amanda's rendition of the character.
If you're a Shirley MacLaine movie, this is a must-see, especially since she's still alive. I can imagine watching this movie after she's passed away would be very sad. Instead, it's inspiring. Shirley is at first motivated to change her life because she wants a better obituary, but along the way, she starts enjoying life in its own right, and it's beautiful. The Last Word has the freedom of a "bucket list" type of movie, but with the motivation of enjoying life, not fearing death.
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