The Leisure Seeker (2017)

The Leisure Seeker
Director: Paolo Virzì
Writer: Stephen Amidon, Francesca Archibugi, Francesco Piccolo, Paolo Virzì
Cast: Helen Mirren, Donald Sutherland, Christian McKay, Janel Moloney, Dana Ivey, Dick Gregory
Seen on: 10.1.2018

Ella (Helen Mirren) and John (Donald Sutherland) have been married for fifty years. But their health is failing both of them and their children Will (Christian McKay) and Jane (Janel Moloney) are watching them with hawk eyes as a result. Ella and John decide to go for one last adventure together in their RV, The Leisure Seeker, escaping their children’s overprotective custody and off they go.

The Leisure Seeker is a tear-jerker and a very well done one at that. Emotional story and great performances are sure to leave no eye dry. Mine were definitely wet a couple of times.

Alzheimer’s/dementia in its many forms is not a new topic to be explored by a film. I don’t really have any experience with it outside of films, so I don’t know if The Leisure Seeker gives an accurate portrayal of the condition, but it did feel more realistic and less romanticized than many other depictions I have seen, so I’m willing to give it the benefit of doubt.

In any case, Sutherland does a great job acting the part. Helen Mirren, too, is wonderful and Ella’s hurt, frustration and love can be seen in every scene. Ella and John are great characters on their own, but its their relationshipt that is the backbone of the film – and it feels entirely real.

The film does have a sense of humor, but I’d say that the drama outweighs the comedy. The entire film, for me, as encapsulated in the scene where the two dance to Don’t Leave Me This Way. It’s funny and lovely until it’s not, but through it all, there’s a tenderness. It is so good, it gave me a new appreciation for the song itself.

The soundtrack is generally nice, as is their quest, making The Leisure Seeker a beautiful, emotional bit of cinema that I very much appreciated.

Summarizing: Beautiful and emotional.

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