When is Amanda Seyfried going to star in another decent film? I think she’s delightful! And funny! But rare is the day that I can sit through one of her movies, and The Last Word does not promise to be an exception.
Co-starring the eminent Shirley MacLaine, this film seems to be an Ebenezer Scrooge-esque redemption tale in which a crotchety, affluent white woman learns, in the twilight of her life, to be less of an asshole. MacClaine plays Harriet Lauler, a successful businesswoman who, ever the perfectionist, demands that her obituary be written pre-mortem. Seyfried is our wide-eyed obituary writer, Anne Sherman. I expect that Harriet and Anne will teach each other a thing or two as hijinks and sentimental twists ensue!
Thrown into the mix is a young black girl, Brenda (AnnJewel Lee Dixon), who Harriet appears to exploit in an effort to reroute her life’s narrative. Realizing that no one has a good word to say about her, Harriet determines that she will make a positive impact on Brenda’s life (the latter probably has little say in this scheme). Then Brenda will, accordingly, sing her praises in the obituary that Anne will compose. And Harriet will have final say on the copy before she croaks. Perfect!
The trailer checks off every box. There are toothless jokes (“she puts the “bitch” in obituary”) and one-liners. There is an impromptu dance party, the hint of a tearful self-realization, wisdom imparted, and a selfie. It’s practically Not Another Feel-Good Movie without the vibrator scene, but then, who knows? Maybe The Last Word will surprise us after all.