Rent The Leisure Seeker (2017)

3.2 of 5 from 233 ratings
1h 48min
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"The Leisure Seeker" is the nickname of the old RV used by Ella (Helen Mirren) and John (Donald Sutherland) Spencer to go on vacation with their children in the 1970's. On a summer morning the couple leave their adult and intrusive children astonished as they hop on board that dated vehicle and dash down Old Route 1 towards Key West for a new adventure. Their trip through an America they no longer recognise - between hilarious moments and others of pure terror - is their chance to retrace their married life nourished by passion and devotion, but also by secret obsessions that abruptly resurface and bring surprising revelations right up to the very end
, , , , , , , , , , Lucy Catharine Haskill, , , , , , , , Ryan Clay Gwaltney,
Marco Cohen, Fabrizio Donvito, Benedetto Habib, Marty Eli Schwartz
Michael Zadoorian, Stephen Amidon, Francesca Archibugi, Francesco Piccolo, Paolo Virzì
Universal Pictures
Action & Adventure, Comedy, Drama, Romance
Release Date:
Run Time:
108 minutes
English Hard of Hearing
DVD Regions:
Region 2
Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen 2.40:1
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Reviews (8) of The Leisure Seeker

Why bother ? - The Leisure Seeker review by JD

Spoiler Alert

Who on earth commissioned this movie ?

One of the most depressing films I have ever seen.

The plot gets ridiculous about a third in, as in desperation the scriptwriters try to inject some unbelievable situations into an already convoluted plot.

Don’t waste your time or money, go down to the pub instead.

2 out of 3 members found this review helpful.

A rare miss for Helen Mirren - The Leisure Seeker review by KF

Spoiler Alert

The brilliant Helen Mirren showed yet a gain what a versatile actor she is, but really, why did she agree to this film I wonder. If you like the idea of garnering some cheap laughs from senile behaviour (and failing miserably) you'll love this film.

1 out of 1 members found this review helpful.

Loved it - The Leisure Seeker review by CKM

Spoiler Alert

For once a film from my list that I thoroughly enjoyed - how refreshing to see the lead taken by two "seniors" - yes it was a bit far fetched but it was touching and the acting by the 2 leads excellent ..... I'd love to tour the USA in my dotage like that .... I watched this till the end something I've rarely done with the trash I've had on my list before

1 out of 2 members found this review helpful.

Critic review

The Leisure Seeker review by Mark McPherson - Cinema Paradiso

There were a few moments within The Leisure Seeker that resonated a certain somber appeal for growing older. Donald Sutherland carries a certain knowing sadness about how easy it is to lose yourself as the mind drifts with age and how you can better remember poetry than your partner. Helen Mirren plays his wife in the film that holds the frustration for reminding him constantly of where he is when he is and who he is. But much like Mirren, this is a broken record of a film that tries to find silly, somber and frightening scenarios for the old couple.

The premise is that Sutherland and Mirren are John and Ella Spencer on a road trip, having ditched their kids who are trying to find out where they’ve gone. Ella is trying to bring John to Hemingway’s home hoping it’ll jog his memory and bring him some joy, as the only time he seems to be extremely happy is when chatting with complete strangers about the famous writer. There are more small moments of joy when he meets former students of his and talks with his family, but Hemmingway makes him most excited as a means of easily connecting with anyone. He nearly springs out of his seat when a waitress opens up about writing on Hemmingway in college.

Ella tries to put up with him but is finding her RV trip with her husband experiencing memory loss to be challenged. He wets himself, forgets plenty, and seems to really be aggravated when he can’t get a burger or have some tea. She wavers between tearfully keeping him together and bitterly deciding to leave him somewhere. It’s hard to not feel that same level of tiredness when dealing with someone who takes off in the RV without her and threatens others with a shotgun.

Everything within this scenario points to the obvious being that John is far too gone in his own mind to be out on his own. While the striving of John and Ella to ditch others that would rather keep them cooped up in a house all day does carry a certain rebelliousness, their journey is ultimately a bitter one. As it goes on, Ella soon realizes that things are never going to get better. John will lose more of his mind and Ella can feel parts of her memories leaning in that direction as well. In a tearful moment, John begs Ella to put the gun in his mouth and tell him to pull the trigger if he’s ever gone too far to remember anything. She can’t bring herself to that point and continues to let the hopelessness build.

There’s a certain appeal to the performances where Sutherland and Mirren have a certain On Golden Pond thing going with their chemistry. But is always seems to be at odds with trying to find odd and absurd things for the couple to do on their road trip. A perfect example of this is setting their story during the 2016 presidential election. John at one point stumbles into a Trump rally and hollers to make America great again. He is soon escorted away by Ella who informs John he was a fervent Democrat. A commentary on the shifting politics of age? Perhaps but it ultimately comes off as just another example of things John has forgotten over an extended period of time.

The Leisure Seeker doesn’t find much leisure over the course of a dramedy that shifts between the sadness of not recognizing family members to the silliness of Mirren drawing a gun on robbing bikers. Despite some strong performances, this type of story merely meanders more than it explores the tough nature of getting older and losing sight of just about everything to dementia. And like many loosely written pictures about the elderly, it’ll soon be forgotten for its mundanity. Well, except for one great exchange.

“Is this heaven?”

“Maybe it is.”

“Can a guy get a burger up here?”

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