Genre: Drama
Director: Paolo Virzì
Cast: Helen Mirren, Donald Sutherland, Janel Moloney, Kirsty Mitchell, Christian McKay
Runtime: 1 hr 52 mins
Rating: M18 (Sexual Scene)
Released By: Shaw Organisation
Official Website: 

Opening Day: 15 March 2018

Synopsis: The Leisure Seeker is the nickname of the old RV used by Ella (Academy Award winner Helen Mirren) and John Spencer (Golden Globe winner Donald Sutherland) to take vacations with their children in the 1970s. On a summer morning, desperate to escape a destiny of medical care that would have kept them apart forever, the couple astonish their meddling adult children by hopping on board that dated vehicle and dashing down Old Route 1 towards Key West for a new adventure. Their trip through an America they no longer recognize - mixing hilarious moments with others of pure terror - is their chance to retrace a married life nourished by passion and devotion, but also by secret obsessions that abruptly resurface and cause surprising revelations right up to the very end.

Movie Review:

This reviewer felt pensive while watching this movie based on the 2009 novel of the same name by Michael Zadoorian. The protagonists are John and Ella, an old couple who decide to embark on a road trip from Bostonto the Hemingway House. Sounds romantic for two geriatric folks to spend some quality time together? That’s before you realise that Alzheimer's disease is catching up with the husband, and cancer is slowly destroying the wife’s life.

And as children, how are we supposed to feel about our ageing parents? Although the film is marketed as a comedy drama, it is with a heavy heart that this columnist sits through the 112 minutes of the movie.

In his first English feature, Italian filmmaker Paolo Virzi (Like Crazy) directs veterans Donald Sutherland (Basmati Blues) and Helen Mirren (Winchester) as the couple. This is the first time the two actors are starring in a production since Bethune: The Making of a Hero (1990). That is one reason why this film is worth your time. Besides, supporting characters played by Janel Moloney, Chistian McKay and KIrsty Mitchell, while do not have much screen time, are not particularly jarring in the bigger scheme of things.

As you’d expect from a road trip movie, the protagonists discover each other, as well as themselves while travelling in the old RV which they fondly call The Leisure Seeker. They meet interesting characters along the way, squabble over seemingly trivial matters, rekindle their relationship through reminiscing old photos, and a whole lot of other things you’d expect when two people go on a trip. For the viewers, there are also picturesque sceneries which make you want to start planning your next holiday.

Sutherland, 82, takes a break from being a baddie in the The Hunger Games franchise (2012–2015) to play a man who is slowly losing memories of what his life used to be life. The actor who has never been nominated for an Oscar (gasp!) effortlessly takes on the role and leaves you wondering how your life would turn out towards the end of the road. Mirren doesn’t disappoint either, as the 72 year old delivers a performance which garnered her a Best Actress nomination in the Comedy or Musical category at the 75th Golden Globes. Her previous works are a testament to her abilities as an actress - The Hundred-Foot Journey (2014), Trumbo (2015) and even Furious 8 (2017), where she played Jason Stathams’ mother.

And this is why you won’t fault the story for being predictable, and at times, melodramatic. Like any other husband and wife pair, this one argues over things which happen in the past and the comments become personal. Heard this one before, haven’t you? For the sake of storytelling, there is also a shotgun involved as the plot progresses.

The most heartbreaking part of the film happens towards the end of the movie. A decision deemed as the best outcome for two old people was made, and that again leaves you pondering, whether it’s better to leave life behind at its best moments, or to hang on till the end.

Movie Rating:

(Although predictable, this road trip movie about two geriatric folks making their last shot at life is a heartwarming watch)

Review by John Li

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