Film Review: THE LEISURE SEEKER (USA 2017)

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The Leisure Seeker Poster

A runaway couple go on an unforgettable journey in the faithful old RV they call The Leisure Seeker.


Paolo Virzì


Michael Zadoorian (novel), Stephen Amidon (screenplay) | 3 more credits »


Oscar winner Helen Mirren (THE QUEEN) and Donald Sutherland star as an elderly couple looking for adventure on one boisterous and bittersweet final road trip.

It has finally come the time (UGH!) when both Mirren and Sutherland star in a old fart film, and one that goes all the way.  Yes, heaven forbid but the worst can happen. THE LEISURE SEEKER is the camper that the elderly married couple take off on their road trip.

Italian director Paolo Virzi who also did the music for the film makes clear of his American political stand.  The film opens with Trump, newly elected voicing his speech on the radio “We will make America great again.”  Another scene later on in the film has the couple walking through a pro-Trump rally.

Ella (Mirren) is dying of cancer.  Her husband, John (Sutherland) is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.  As the film opens, their son and daughter discover that their parents have taken off with THE LEISURE SEEKER, on a last road trip.  Neither Ella nor John is interested in quietly fading away surrounded by nurses and machines just to needlessly prolong a winnowing life.  They travel from Boston to Florida (some nice scenery on display) with John behind the wheel.  He may not always be cognizant of the nature of their trip — she assures him it is just a vacation — but he gets into the spirit.  As they pass through cities and towns they see how much the world they know has changed for ill or for good.

The film is based on the novel by Michael Zadoorian.  But as a film, there is too much tackled in the film.  Everything that one can think about growing old is in the film and covered unfortunately in a clinched manner.  

The issues covered include:

sex between an elderly couple

sickness that are incurable such as cancer and memory loss

past skeletons in the closet

children who care too much

being a burden

loss of bodily functions


retirement homes

being taken advantage of as seniors (the hold-up scene)

what old people really look like outside their make-up and hair pieces

Director Virzi acts like a traffic cop ushering these issues in an out.  The incidents like the traffic comes and goes, none too memorable, and quite boring too, just as the job of directing traffic.

Helen Mirren does a southern accent though her British accent can still be heard.  Her first few dialogue lines are done with British accent which is odd.  Mirren is brave enough to show her real looks, with thinning white hair and all.  Sutherland, looking really lean and sexy in the old (younger days) photographs on display in the film.

The script attempts to put some insight with lots of quotations from Hemingway as John is a former professor of Literature.

It is clear that the film is aimed at displaying humour, affection, observation, and maybe a little satire, but the result is another old farts fantasy film about old people trying to be young again.



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