“The Challenge Is Balancing Tone”: Director Mark Pellington
The communication challenge in executing The Last Word was thematic. With issues of aging or mortality, the challenge is balancing tone. That is achieved by communicating to everyone (cast, crew and, in turn, the audience) the specific tone.
We tried keeping the story human and offbeat, making it emotionally inclusive, and earning the emotional payoff via narrative investment in character. Thus you are letting the audience grow to love the people in these relationships.
When these moments are earned, you can then deal with weightier themes.