By MARK HIGLEY
The Leisure Seeker pairs Academy Award-winner Dame Helen Mirren and two-time Golden Globe winner Donald Sutherland as nearly broken seniors, Ella and John, who have escaped from their doctors and overbearing middle-aged children to take an unforgettable journey in their trusty old Winnebago. The RV, “Leisure Seeker,” once a vehicle for getaways, has now become a getaway vehicle as they recapture their passion for life and love.
John, grumpy and confused, has difficulty remembering the names of his wife and children although his quotes by Ernest Hemingway seem to flow effortlessly. Ella has willed her worn body to embrace these days with her husband on one last
magical excursion. She’s years younger than John, full of light-hearted wit and an indomitable spirit.
Their journey begins outside Boston and becomes a pilgrimage to Key West to see Hemingway’s Home and Museum, something John, a former English teacher, has always longed to do.
Recalling what drew him into the role, Sutherland, 82, said: “I was about 20 pages into the script when John sat up and talked to me. It was a wonderful
conversation. He was very articulate. And very specific. And he liked the script.”
Mirren, 72, also related well to her character. “She’s full of energy, commitment and pleasure in life
that I hope that I can maintain to the end of my days.”
“You can see her resolve and her backbone as she puts on her lipstick and her wig, the uniform she puts
on to face the world.”
Italian filmmaker Paolo Virzì claimed he wouldn’t have made the movie without the pair. “Working with a sublime actress like Helen and an authentic legend like Donald was both electrifying and instructive.
Although we were crammed in that creaky stifling
camper it was hard for me to say, ‘Cut!’”
Perhaps the true flavor of The Leisure Seeker is stirred by a sojourn through Americana, but the indelible taste is that of the life long bond between a
man and woman.
And as Ernest Hemingway wrote in his memoir, A Movable Feast, “Never go on trips with anyone you do not love.”
The movie is set to release Jan. 19.