Film Review: Helen Mirren Takes Another Ride in ‘The Leisure Seeker’

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CHICAGO – Helen Mirren keeps establishing herself as an international treasure with each new role. She is the prime motivator in the new film “The Leisure Seeker,” about a retired couple taking one last spin in their RV, which takes its nickname from the title of the film. Along the way secrets are revealed and the devastation of dementia is exposed, but the story never gets too serious or heavy handed.

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 4.0/5.0
Rating: 4.0/5.0

Donald Sutherland portrays the dementia-riddled husband in the couple, and he delivers a spot-on interpretation of the “needle skip” nature of the disease. The film is adapted by four screenwriters, including director Paolo Virzi (“Like Crazy”), from a novel by Michael Zadoorian. The story is the star, and it is rendered precisely by Virzi, with even the supporting roles having interesting significance… kudos to the casting of Janel Moloney and Christian McKay as their nervous adult children. The themes of aging, dementia and the “final journey” are all present, but its not a downer and is quite light in its comic touch. Mirren is fantastic as usual, the glue of everything swirling around her character… her inner performing spirit never ages.

Siblings Will (Christian McKay) and Jane (Janel Moloney) are shocked when they find out that their parents Ella (Helen Mirren) and John (Donald Sutherland) had fired up the old family RV – nicknamed “The Leisure Seeker” – and have taken to the road. John has dementia, and Ella is not well herself, but the two hit the road to drive from the Boston area to Ernest Hemingway’s Key West home attraction.

Along the way, they experience several adventures, many having to do with John’s tendency to drift due to his condition. As part of his memory therapy, Ella hooks up a nightly slide show of faces and places in John’s life. It is is that show that spurs a secret that inadvertently is blurted out by John at a crucial juncture. Ella then takes on the responsibility of the final miles in the journey.

“The Leisure Seeker” has a nationwide release on March 9th. See local listings for theaters and show times. Featuring Helen Mirren, Donald Sutherland, Janel Moloney, Christian McKay and Dana Ivey. Screenplay adapted by Paolo Virzi, Stephen Amidon, Francesca Archibugi and Francesco Piccolo. Directed by Paolo Virzi. Rated “R”

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “The Leisure Seeker”

Leisure1
Ella (Helen Mirren) is On the Road Again in ‘The Leisure Seeker’
Photo credit: Sony Pictures Classics

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “The Leisure Seeker”

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