The Last Word

Director: Mark Pellington
Screenwriters: Stuart Ross Fink

Institute History

  • 2017 Sundance Film Festival


Harriet Lauler (Shirley MacLaine), a once successful businesswoman, has always been in tight control of every aspect of her life. As she reflects upon her accomplishments, she's suddenly inspired to engage a young local writer, Anne Sherman (Amanda Seyfried), to pen her life's story. When the initial result doesn’t meet Harriet's high expectations, she sets out to reshape the way she is remembered, with Anne dragged along as an unwilling accomplice. As the journey unfolds, the two women develop a unique bond which alters not only Harriet’s legacy, but also Anne’s future.

Director Mark Pellington returns to the Festival with a film as funny as it is moving. MacLaine shines, and it’s a rare pleasure to watch her front and center, telling a story with every line. Her character is a tough perfectionist, but through a fleeting smile or a look of quiet regret, she makes Harriet something richer and more complicated. Emboldened by three generations of indomitable female characters, The Last Word is a triumphant tale about living life to the fullest—at any age.

— Trevor Groth

Screening Details

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