John and Ella Robina have shared a wonderful life for more than fifty years. Now in their eighties, Ella suffers from cancer and has chosen to stop treatment. John has Alzheimer’s. Yearning for one last adventure, the self-proclaimed “down-on-their-luck geezers” kidnap themselves from the adult children and doctors who seem to run their lives to steal away from their home in suburban Detroit on a forbidden vacation of rediscovery.
With Ella as his vigilant copilot, John steers their ’78 Leisure Seeker RV along the forgotten roads of Route 66 toward Disneyland in search of a past they’re having a damned hard time remembering. Yet Ella is determined to prove that, when it comes to life, a person can go back for secondssneak a little extra time, grab a small portion moreeven when everyone says you can’t.
Darkly observant, told with humor, affection, and a touch of irony, The Leisure Seeker is an odyssey through the ghost towns, deserted trailer parks, forgotten tourist attractions, giant roadside icons, and crumbling back roads of America. Ultimately it is the story of Ella and John: the people they encounter, the problems they overcome, the experiences they have lived, the love they share, and their courage to take back the end of their own lives.
The Leisure Seeker is a 2017 Italian-French road movie directed by Paolo Virzì. It is also his first full English-language film. The film is based on the 2009 novel of the same name by Michael Zadoorian. It stars Donald Sutherland and Helen Mirren, for the first time acting together since the 1990 film Bethune: The Making of a Hero. It was screened in the main competition section of the 74th Venice International Film Festival. Helen Mirren has received a nomination at Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy as Ella Spencer.
The Leisure Seeker (2018)
Directed by: Paolo Virzì
Starring: Helen Mirren, Donald Sutherland, Janel Moloney, Joshua Mikel, Kirsty Mitchell, Elijah Marcano, Dana Ivey, Chelle Ramos, Christian McKay, Dick Gregory, Robert Walker Branchaud
Screenplay by: Stephen Amidon
Production Design by: Richard A. Wright
Cinematography by: Luca Bigazzi
Film Editing by: Jacopo Quadri
Costume Design by: Massimo Cantini Parrini
Set Decoration by: Eve Cauley
Art Direction by: Justin O’Neal Miller
Music by: Carlo Virzì
MPAA Rating: R for some sexual material.
Distributed by: Sony Pictures Classics
Release Date: March 9, 2018