Linda Movie Review: THE LEISURE SEEKER

The Leisure Seeker review by Linda Ruiz

“Never to go on trips with anyone you do not love”, wrote Ernest Hemingway in A Moveable Feast. For 50 years John (Donald Sutherland) and Ella Spencer (Helen Mirren), have been doing just that in their antique RV, The Leisure Seeker.

Paired together after 27 years by director Paolo Virzi, Mirren and Sutherland take us on an adventurous road trip to the Florida Keys to fulfill John’s wish to visit Ernest Hemingway’s home. What begins as a comedy with two old folks running away from their helicopter children, unfolds into a story of love, life and always fulfilling your dreams.

Donald Sutherland’s portrayal of a retired English professor suffering from Alzheimer’s is heartbreakingly real. That blank stare when lucidity escapes him, the hopelessness of being lost in his life, Ella’s anger at him for the constant state of bewilderment are the hallmarks of this cruel disease.

Ella believes her love can pull him out of this. She is in denial at the severity of his illness and feels that this road trip to the place he has most desired to see will bring him back. At the camping stops she continually shows him slides of their life together. Sometimes he remembers events in such great detail Ella thinks she is succeeding.

When they finally reach the Hemingway home it is the midst of a wedding. John joins the celebration in full swing and Ella loses sight of him. As she is trying to find him she falls and is taken to the hospital.

That event is a turning point in this film. John is at his most lucid and the role of caregiver is reversed. Instead of heading home they embark on a further adventure that will have you rolling with laughter in the aisle. After 50 years they can still surprise each other and express their love. Ella decides on one final adventure for them that expresses just how much their life together means and how love is the strongest of all.

The organic chemistry between Sutherland and Mirren is an incredible adventure in itself. It’s tragic that it took so long, but Leisure Seeker makes up for it.


In Select Theaters March 9th

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