The Leisure Seeker (2017) Poster

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9/10
Must See film
dnrteuer21 January 2018
I saw this at an AARP pre-screening and found it to be funny and poignant. The entire audience, composed of young and old people, laughed aloud and applauded often throughout the film. Why? Because the topic, situations presented, and dialogue resonated with experiences common to the lives of everyone watching.

The film addresses topics not often seen in films: intimate loving relationships and romance in the elderly, Alzheimer's, end-of-life issues and family dynamics involved, dying with dignity, personal choice, euthanasia and suicide. There is no preachiness; the viewers are respectfully left with an emotional invitation to reflect upon these issues for themselves. Remarkably, this is done with humour and grace, without self pity or undue sentimentality. The film is not Hollywood glitzy, it may even seem a bit drab at times, but this is part of why it rings true and makes the film work. Everything from the couple's home and basement, the RV they run off in, the campgrounds they stay in, and the nursing home they visit - all of it, remarkably familiar to most Americans. We are being asked to think about extraordinary issues relating to ordinary lives, similar to those we all lead, and it seems that this less glossy calling card works. This approach is also supported by the beautifully nuanced performances given by Mirren and Southerland as they let us into their world of romance, aging, family, incurable illness, and end-of-life choices, all while travelling the landscape of US Route #1.

From start to closing credits, group laughter, applause, and cheering revealed a palpable comradery among the audience members, which told volumes about how well the film accomplished its goal of raising awareness of important emotional, personal, social issues while still offerring an enjoyable night at the movies. I hope you have an opportunity to see it.
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8/10
A film that transcends a myriad of problems. I recommend it.
sylvia12017 November 2018
I have been telling as many friends as possible about this movie. I am 85, a widow, and lots of my friends are my age or older. There were so many things that didn't quite ring true here....Mirren was wonderful but she isn't really able to sell a chatty woman with a Southern accent, less educated person than her husband. I've had several Alzheimers sufferers in my life and in many ways Sutherland didn't seem to fit the bill. For instance I wonder if he could really drive that house trailer. But, in spite of absolutely everything the total story rang true and had a strong effect on me.
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10/10
Marvellously emotional movie about a truely loving old couple's final big journey
WinstonNoCGI14 January 2018
The English movie title is misleading, the German title is much better. It translates to: "Smouldering remembrance" (there surely will be better translations, even more meeting the movie's true content).

The movie is an emotional journey about an old couple that's been married for half a century. He once was a literate English teacher and she's been giving birth to two beloved children, who have their own families by now.

The old couple's live has reached their final stage: He's suffering from Alzheimer disease and she's suffering from cancer. So they spontaneously decide to go on their last big trip, from Boston to Key West, to meet his lifetime wish of having visited The Ernest Hemingway Home once in his life - without telling their kids, who get anxiously concerned when they realize that their parents are not at home as they expected them to be.

The trip that the old couple takes is a truely heart-warming story through their past. They take their old Winnebago and head out for Key West, revisiting not only the old camp sites they visited so often before but also revisiting stages of their life and their family, being aware that this will be the last big trip they will ever have together again.

His dementia gives room for some funny moments but also for some truely sad. She attends him the best she can, but when they go back through their life, watching old slides on improvised personal slide shows they watch at their camp site stops, it's heartbreaking to realize that she will be losing him.

The movie is a great emotional roller coaster ride of a beloved couple, of loving and anxious children and how our life may be like when it will have reached its final chapter.

The movie is a so-called chick flick. Be prepared to have handkerchieves near at hand when watching it.

Me and my girl friend had quite a few tears dropped while watching the movie. It may have affected us more than other viewers because it kind of reflected our life. We are about 50 years old and had a similar life, taking camping trips in an old Jeep Wrangler on our journeys to Italy. To be in the picture of the movie: I'm the demential (former?) literate driver, and she (who's even more literate) tells me where to head to and, whenever she can, she attends me so nicely (or tells me where to put it). We are laughing, talking, quarreling, and we get emotional ... So we felt very much like that old couple. (Well, at least I did. My girl friend felt with the old couple on their own.) ... And if we could have a trip like this at the end of our life, this would be one of the best final chapters I could think of for my life.
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8/10
Tribute to life and love
aburgan14 November 2018
Excellent story of long-standing love, life, and aging. As I age, and reflect on life and my 35 year marriage, this film really resonates. It is touching to see how a couple could spend so many years together and remain in love for so many years. A truly touching film.
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9/10
A road trip of (and about) a lifetime
2001ASOfan13 April 2018
Films that try to earnestly, honestly explore and detail life experiences to hopefully illuminate and celebrate them--and maybe even help viewers deal with their own similar experiences--are films I always appreciate, even if I can't say I ended up enjoying watching them because the life experiences depicted are so difficult and inherently sad. I should also emphasize now, though, that "The Leisure Seeker" also tries to find the humor in this inherently sad situation, and succeeds at times: There are some very amusing moments. In an interview while promoting this film Helen Mirren said she took the role because the character she was playing was rushing into living and life rather than running away from it when it got difficult, and I agree. Interesting to find out in the closing credits that this is an Italian film production, with an Italian director (in fact, Mirren also said she always wanted to be in an Italian film because they were so inspiring to her when she was young, and it was also one of the reasons she took this role), so it is actually an Italian take on a very American story and road trip taking place in two distinctly different parts of America along the East Coast, from Massachusetts to Florida. I found it reflective and contemplative in a good way, and I was drawn in and glad I took the trip with them, even if I left the theater feeling melancholy and a bit afraid of what my later years may bring to me as well. Recommended, but be aware that your own life experiences may make this a darker or lighter film depending on what you've been through yourself.
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9/10
A great film about the pain of getting old
Figgy66-915-59847023 April 2018
23 April 2018

First film of choice at The Plaza Dorchester tonight - The Leisure Seeker. Yes, it was a slow film but it totally suited the subject and I feel provides food for thought. Helen Mirren and Donald Sutherland seemed an odd couple to put together, but this worked. A very credible southern accent and a non-stop chatter actually endeared me to Helen Mirren's character, she has a lot to put up with but the deep seated love for her husband made her carry on and gave her that strength to provide the support for her confused spouse. Wonderful performances in this tender film about the pressures of ageing with an ailing body or an ailing mind. Donald Sutherland plays John who suffers from memory loss and most the time lives happily in a world of his own. Helen Mirren Is Ella who has a tumour and doesn't want to go to treatment she's been checked before. Unbeknownst to their children they then take off in their ancient Winnebago nicknamed The Leisure Seeker. Following the road south to the Florida Keys, they relive their lives through forgotten memories and new discoveries and both relearn and forget things. Many reviews have not been very good for this film, indeed one particular one stated 'two great actors in dead-end roles. What I feel these people have failed to see that this is a story about how ordinary people deal with extraordinary things going on in their lives, it doesn't matter who the stars are, this can happen to anyone, who of us doesn't know someone suffering with memory loss or terminal diseases. This film had moments of humour especially as we witness confusion experience by John as he repeatedly forgot where he was or who he was with. However, we shouldn't feel guilty about laughing at such moments. Laughter can be a good remedy for the helplessness that must wash over you as you face such situations. A very moving and thought provoking film.
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10/10
Growing old gracefully
cyn-wolf28 January 2018
When this came out to review, I fell in love with it. I told my husband it was us in a few years. He was always mistaken for Donald Sutherland also. I told him that when this comes out I hope that we are starting our RV traveling again, but unfortunately we couldn't as he passed away before his time. I do plan on seeing this film and will watch it over and over again.
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8/10
Beautiful movie for people over 50!
lcase-1340110 April 2018
If you are over 50 and fortunate enough to be in a long term, loving relationship, you are going to love this movie! We almost did not go to see it after the lackluster review that appeared in the Dayton Daily News, but we are so glad we did! This movie will make you laugh and cry and think about what is really important in life. Besides, how can you beat Donald Sutherland and Helen Mirren?
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8/10
A celebration of life at one of its significant junctures
biisuto12 June 2018
Fugitive, 70-something grey nomads John (Sutherland) and Ella (Mirren) dust off their old Winnebago for one last trip, to visit the Florida Keys and the home of Ernest Hemingway. John is a retired literary professor and Ella has always wanted to take him there. Their disappearance scares the hell out of their grownup kids who, while pleading with them on the phone to come home, vacillate between respecting their wishes and calling the cops on their irresponsible parents.

THE LEISURE SEEKER is an at times funny, at times poignant, perhaps even confronting but also very real tale of what's waiting for us all as we near the end of our respective journeys. The film is a study of 'memento mori' and a pretty honest exploration of the gradually diminishing range of options as age and failing health catches up and overtakes even those not quite ready to call it a day.

Although it evoked a strong emotional response from the reviewing audience, it didn't feel either glib or particularly dark or depressing. Rather, it played as the celebration of a family's unembellished life and their enduring and at times conflicted love for one another.
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7/10
Bittersweet leisure
TheLittleSongbird4 May 2018
Love Helen Mirren, who is something of a national treasure. Similarly, the subject matter and how the film was advertised (although being in the shadow of other films released at the same time, ones people are more likely to go and see, so was not advertised as much and wasn't done so enough) interested and appealed to me.

While not a great film, 'The Leisure Seeker' to me was a good lovely film and achieved at what it set out to do, in portraying the realities of people's final stages and appreciating people you are with more or even more. For me, it is much better than the mixed reviews it's gotten, don't agree personally that it's wasted by the story or has little to say. Have not read the book, having had no knowledge of it, but regardless of how it compares will compare 'The Leisure Seeker' as a standalone and as an overall film. To me that is a much fairer way to judge, especially when there are films or adaptations that may be bad adaptations of source material but are good to great films on their own merits, old and new.

Sure, surprises are very few, it is a predictable film. Especially the ending, one that is obvious too early and didn't ring true and somewhat contrived somehow to me.

Also felt that the political elements were heavy-handed and not necessary. The accidental joining of the anti-Donald Trump rally is amusing, but for somebody who has gotten sick and tired of constantly hearing about Trump (will briefly say he is one of my least favourite people ever), the political elements was something that the film could easily have done without.

On the other hand, Donald Sutherland and especially Helen Mirren are wonderful in the lead roles and have a very charming and touching chemistry together, their characters very rootable. The rest of the cast are solid, but their characters are nowhere near as interesting as the leads. There is the odd funny moment but lots of heart-wrenching ones, did reach for my tissue pack more than once. The two are balanced beautifully.

'The Leisure Seeker' is very nicely filmed and competently directed, allowing the leads to shine and mixing comedy and drama with little problem. The music fits well and the script not only achieves delivering on both the comedy and drama but also as aforementioned balancing them together. The story is charming, sweet and poignant, with thought-provoking moments and makes one feel inspired and appreciative. What it says may not be much new, but it doesn't not have anything to say. The pace never felt dull.

In summary, lovely though flawed film that is better than given credit for. 7/10 Bethany Cox
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9/10
Superb!
mervianclaro21 October 2018
Helen Mirrin and Donald Sutherland never disappoint viewers. Great story and superb acting.
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10/10
Wonderful!
sunsetblazeis29 November 2018
Netflix lists this film as "comedy", why, I do not know. It was wonderful, as expected.
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10/10
Best Movie Ever
eldaboardway3 November 2018
This was the best movie ever. This movie was so GREAT AND funny and sad and made you angry and everything all rolled into one. This was a real tear jerked. WHAT a wonderful movie. 5 thumps up!.
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10/10
Well Done!
kesakb10 October 2018
A very sensitive and lightly humorous look into the lives of wonderfully drawn characters. Outstanding performances from two of the world's greatest actors.
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10/10
This movie was exceptional!
mjshenkenberg17 August 2018
I rarely to never leave a movie feeling wowed. This movie was an exception; this was such a lovely and moving film. The characters were hauntingly beautiful as was there love story, filled with so much history that slowly unfolds seamlessly throughout the film. This movie made me laugh, and evoked so many other feelings.

The critics interestingly enough missed the gem that this movie is.
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10/10
If you want to compare it to the book, don't. If you want to see a good movie, this is one of them!
vtc-39 April 2018
Warning: Spoilers
I see reviewers on here badmouthing this or that about the movie. Let's look at it as a separate entity, and review it for what it is! First, it's an emotional roller-coaster. some parts are funny, some parts are downright tragic. But if you have had friends, parents relatives or even yourself getting closer to 'the end' you can feel for these characters. The kids have a minor support role, if only to show this couple is not alone. the neighbor has even a lesser role, but her involvement in the plotline is one of the main turning points.

SPOILER ALERT: This isn't really a 'feel good' movie. The ending is impactful, bit it makes one realize that life is fleeting. the juxtaposition of the visit to Hemmingway's house is interesting, whereas Ella thinks it' overcommercialized and should be practibly a 'shrine', John sees it as a celebration, a party of Hemmingway's existance.

Look, I'm not a paid critic. I like what I like. in some parts, this movie was hard to watch. But I feel I'm a better person for seeing it. Yes, it's that good.
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8/10
Love till end
blauregenbogen29 April 2018
I love it,funny and it's all about in our lives. Love,respect,compromise,listening and even more... anyway love till end whatever comes...
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9/10
Moving drama with smiles
neil-47627 April 2018
Warning: Spoilers
Feisty Ella and her literary academic husband John embark on an apparently spontaneous road trip in their old Winnebago The Leisure Seeker to the consternation of their grown children. It quickly becomes clear to us that John has Alzheimer's which Ella is coping with as best she can, revelling in the good moments and dealing with the bad. It is also obvious that theirs has been a close and loving relationship. The purpose of the trip is to recapture memories, to visit Ernest Hemingway's house (a long-cherished wish of John's), and perhaps something else.

Helen Mirren and Donald Sutherland are sublime as Ella and John, conveying all aspects of this profound but dying relationship utterly convincingly. In fact, in many respects, I was watching the current relationship between my parents, which meant that I found this film moving and somewhat painful.

It also made me smile a lot. It is often funny, and the humour is often bittersweet. This is a very good film.
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about love
Kirpianuscus19 February 2019
I saw this film like a precious gift from two great actors. Their magnificent performances, the inspired script, the nuances of love, the powerful connection and the simple manner to be part from the other are more than beautiful. It is an useful film. This is its basic virtue and the heart of the emotion about it. A couple, a travel and the splendid chemistry between Hellen Mirren and Donald Sutherland. Enough for a form of stop time. For admire one of profound forms of romanticism.
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8/10
A hearthwarming Road movie
imursel1 October 2018
Directing: 7 /Acting: 8 /Story: 7 /Production values: 6 /Suspence - Thriller level: 3 /Action: 4 /Mystery - unknown: 0 /Romance level: 8 /Comedy elements: 7
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9/10
Good movie
melissa-smith52824 August 2018
Helen Mirren is amazing as always. This movie breaks my heart just like they were my grandparents.
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10/10
A lifetime spent together.
Really puts everything into perspective. How you treat the one that is beside you for a lifetime. The good, the bad, the ugly, TOGETHER. Kids grow up and make of a life for themselves, but you always remain with the one you dedicated your life to. Great film about a lifetime relationship.
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5/10
a cloud of sadness
ferguson-615 March 2018
Warning: Spoilers
Greetings again from the darkness. Getting older is often used as comedy fodder for entertainment purposes; however, there is fine line that can be crossed into disrespect and melancholy. Long time Italian director Paolo Virzi (HUMAN CAPITAL, 2013) delivers his first English-language film, and it's at times quite uncomfortable to watch. Marketed as a dramatic-comedy road trip by a long married couple, the film provides a few laughs, but an overwhelming pall of sadness mostly sets the tone, while sliding right into my category of Gray Cinema.

Helen Mirren is Ella Spencer, and Donald Sutherland is her husband John. They are a happily married couple who, to the shock of their grown children and neighbor, hit the road in their 1970's era Winnebago. Isn't it interesting that an RV of age is considered "classic", while old people are just referred to as "old"? John is a curmudgeonly former Professor and Helen is a gregarious, adventuresome woman who fondly recalls the many family trips in this same RV. She is clearly the one in charge, and has planned this road trip from their upscale Wellesley, Massachusetts home to Ernest Hemingway's house in Key West.

Although John recites his favorite passages from Hemingway and Melville, he is certainly battling the effects of dementia ... a battle that frequently has a negative impact on Ella's enjoyment of their time together. While he may recall details of a long-ago student, he often forgets the names of his own kids - or even his wife! While John's mental state is causing emotional pain for Ella, it's her own untreated cancer that is driving her body to fail her. They are each slipping away in different ways, though their paths lead to the same destination.

Based on the novel from Michael Zadoorian, four different writers worked on the screenplay, and that is likely the cause of the distorted tone and approach. It's quite difficult to be funny when the moments are so poignant and sad. There is even a political undercurrent which is teased, but carries no heft or substance. Taking place during the most recent Presidential campaign, Trump rallies are used as punchlines, and a Hillary rally is inferred. Neither have any impact, though a sequence involving a roadside robbery ends with (unintended?) support of carrying a gun, even if it was an odd attempt at humor.

Janel Moloney and Christian McKay are little more than caricatures as the grown kids, while we do get to see Dick Gregory's final on screen appearance (he passed away last year). Carole King and Janis Joplin songs are put to obvious use, and there aren't enough "Happy Swirls" in the world to overcome the inherent fear that most aging folks have towards a failing body or mind ... and this film shows both sides, while attempting to inject humor on that one last road trip that most of us dread.
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9/10
Runs Close To The Book And The Book Is One Of My Favorites
patsworld6 May 2018
Saw this really good movie this week. Finally was able to find a showing of The Leisure Seeker. It's one of my very favorite books and the movie was pretty close to the book. Helen Mirren and Donald Sutherland star in it. And do a superb job, both of them. It sounds like a depressing story, but it isn't. An old couple - she's dying of cancer and he is suffering from Alzheimer's to the extent that half the time he doesn't know where he is - or even who she is - climb into their old RV and head off across the country to see the ocean. I know. Sounds depressing and the story does move along pretty much as you might expect it to. But it's a heart-warming, touching book and film with some humor. I don't know. You just come to like these people and understand where they're coming from. Like I said, it's one of my all-time favorite books. When I'm at a used book sale and I find a copy, I hold it up, wave it around and ask any and all if they've read it and if they haven't they need to buy and read it. (I've managed to sell a lot of copies that way) I just want everyone to read it, it's that good. If you haven't read it, do so. If you haven't seen this film, do so. You don't have to be old to enjoy it. I went with someone much, much younger than I am, and they loved it. My recommendation? Go ahead - if you can find it. For some unknown and infuriating reason it was only shown in one theater in my entire area. But I bet you'll like it.
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9/10
Emblematic hipster's dementia reflects America's loss of identity.
maurice_yacowar8 April 2018
Warning: Spoilers
This film's drama operates on two levels: the psychological and the political. The more obvious, the psychological, depicts the mental and physical deterioration of the principle couple, John and Ella respectively. The emotional wallop comes from the pathos, realism and nuance especially in John's dementia, as he slips in and out of memory and awareness. Ella subordinates her terminal illness to holding him together on their valedictory trip. As he excavates his own past his suspicion of Ella's ostensible infidelity gives way to his unwitting exposure of his own. The couple shift through a series of fleeting harmonies and tensions before peacefully ending together. As Ella told her daughter, "It's just something I really need to do with your father." The audience of their contemporaries can take some solace from noting that unlike their diminishing characters, Helen Mirren and Donald Sutherland are still working and delivering marvellous performances. They don't act their characters' age. Through all of John's and Ella's miseries, perhaps the saddest figure is Lilian, their neighbour, with whom John had a fling during Ella's pregnancy. In the God's eye view of the couple's funeral, Lilian walks away alone, the challenger to the couple's bliss who failed to come between them. But the drama has a parallel dimension, that reflects beyond the characters to the current United States. The film is so pervasively American that it's easy to miss the fact that it has an Italian director and European producers. This is a European vision of America. Here the dementia afflicts not just John but America. Like John, America has forgotten the values and character that made it great - specifically in the 1960s. In Trump's election and in his presidency America has forgotten itself. Hence the 60s soundtrack of political and head lyrics. The film opens on one Trump rally. At a later one John loses himself, forgets he's a lifelong Democrat and dons a Trump/Pence pin. Of course Trump's "great" America is that which the 60s revolution replaced, with its exercise of freedoms, its assault on racism and sexual bigotry and its rejection of traditional politics. Indeed the couple's transport of delight is "The Leisure Seeker," another echo of the spirit and freedom of the Woodstock days. Hence the crucial casting of Donald Sutherland as the old intellectual hipster who is losing his grip on himself and on reality. The Canadian actor became an icon of the 60s American cultural revolution with films like Joanna, MASH, Start the Revolution Without Me, Alex in Wonderland, Steelyard Blues, Gas and Don't Look Now. His work with Bertolucci and Felljni emblematized the European revolution as well. Helen Mirren reverses that movement. She buries her British persona in her Georgia belle, equally parallelling Vivien Leigh's ascent in Gone with the Wind and the Beatles' and Carnaby Street's cultural conquest of America. The other crucial casting is of Dick Gregory, the comedian/writer leader of the African American revolution of the day, as Ella's crochety, invalid ex-boyfriend. He doesn't remember her, their affair, his past life, but he remains properly enraged at America's resurgent racism and the intrusion of his forgotten past. The two young diner waitresses provide a related contrast. The white waitress is uneducated, has memorized her lines in service and politely tolerates John's lecture on the poetry of Hemingway's prose. The Florida waitress is prettier, more poised, and she fills in John's forgotten Hemingway quote, She did an honours paper on him. But she's African American so despite her education, wit and poise, she's still a waitress.
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