The Last Word


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Festival Year

2008 (click here to see all competition films from this year)


Dramatic Competition


Winona Ryder, Wes Bentley, Ray Romano

Non-Cast Credits

Geoff Haley, David Hillary, Tim Peternel, Alexandra Milchan, Bonnie Timmermann, Jack Utsick, Kees Van Oostrum, Fabienne Rawley, John Swihart


Geoff Haley’s feature debut is a hilariously dark romantic comedy set in the City of Angels, where aimless souls are desperate to either make a connection or go out with a bang.

Evan Merck (Wes Bentley) is a writer who has found a most peculiar niche. Evan makes his living composing other people’s suicide notes. His reclusive world is thrown for a loop when, at a client’s funeral, Evan meets the beautiful, free-spirited Charlotte (Winona Ryder), the dead client’s sister. Unaware of his real day job—much less his connection to her brother’s suicide—Charlotte develops a fascination for the young writer. Sparks fly, and Evan is not one for sparks. As his feelings for Charlotte spiral, Evan desperately tries to keep his career a secret. Deceptions snowball, rocking the delicately crafted balance of Evan’s life and, consequently, the lives of his hapless clients.

Surprisingly touching, quirky, and wickedly intelligent, this charming comedy confronts loss, redemption, and our curious need to leave a legacy. Bentley and Ryder have a chemistry that sizzles. As Evan’s client and friend, Abel, Ray Romano puts the dead back in deadpan. Writer/director Geoff Haley returns to Sundance after his 2002 short film, The Parlor, made quite a splash. The Last Word puts Haley on the cine-map as a fresh voice that is decidedly alive.


Trevor Groth (see other films reviewed by the same reviewer)

Film Takes Pace.