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‘The Last Word’ Trailer: Controlling Shirley MacLaine Vs. Overwhelmed Obit Writer Amanda Seyfried

Deadline logo Deadline 12/13/2016 Erik Pedersen
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“The thought of leaving my obituary to chance is completely unreasonable to me.” So says Harriet Lauler (Shirley MacLaine), a very successful retired businesswoman who needs to control everything. So she goes to her local newspaper’s obit writer (Amanda Seyfried) with a plan: Lauler basically will co-write her own death notice — you know, to be sure it gets done the right way. But there’s a catch: She isn’t exactly the town’s most popular resident.

Here is the first trailer for The Last Word, a dramedy from director Mark Pellington and writer Stuart Fink. Young Anne Sherman faces a monumental task: Glean some positives from a life peppered with negatives. “I hated her,” Father Piper confides. “If I want your opinion, I will give it to you,” Lauler’s gynecologist quotes her as saying. This is what you young writer is up against — that and others looking forward to reading the obituary — for the sole reason that it would mean Lauler had gone to join the choir invisible. Or its more southerly equivalent. Anne sums it up nicely: “She puts the bitch in obituary.”

So Lauler sets out to find someone whose life she will “touch.” Enter young Brenda (AnnJewel Lee Dixon) — and a job as a disc jockey, where her penance is playing the likes of the Kinks on the unconverted. Soon, the multigenerational trio finds they have plenty to learn from one another.

Bleecker Street acquired the dramedy in November and will release it March 3. Have a look at the trailer and tell us what you think.

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