‘The Leisure Seeker’ is a heartfelt romantic-comedy


Donald Sutherland and Helen Mirren star as John and Ella Spencer in “The Leisure Seeker.” Sony Pictures Classics’ Website Photo

Though the film ‘The Leisure Seeker’ is an emotionally driven film, it does have flaws that almost lead it to its demise.

The film “The Leisure Seeker,” John (Donald Sutherland) and Ella Spencer (Helen Mirren) are a retired couple who are cared for by their children, Jane (Janel Moloney) and Will (Christian McKay). John has recently been experiencing symptoms of early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, while Ella is battling cancer. In a final effort to make the most out of their lives, John and Ella take one more road trip from their home in Massachusetts to Key West, Florida before their illnesses consume them.

There were many aspects of this film that made “The Leisure Seeker” enjoyable.

The chemistry between Donald Sutherland and Helen Mirren is some of the most organic, on-screen chemistry that I have seen in a film.

Mirren’s performance as Ella was well delivered and executed. She was able to capture the emotional turmoil of a wife seeing her spouse suffer from memory loss. Although she does her best to be sympathetic towards her husband, the pain of seeing her loved one fade away was too much for Ella to handle.

Ella is not the most perfectly-written character ever, but Mirren delivers a sincere and genuine performance in Ella which creates a very captivating character that becomes the driving force of the film.

The relationship between John and Ellen is very sincere and emotional as they entered their elder years. “The Leisure Seeker” was a decent romantic-comedy that did tug a few of my heart strings.

However, the flaws make this film go from great to just decent.

Though Helen Mirren delivered an excellent performance, the writing of the character Ella itself was flawed and could have been improved.

Many of Ella’s actions, dialogue and overall mannerisms were questionable. Her attitude towards John’s memory loss was borderline rude and created an almost infuriating character in Ella.

Though Ella is a flawed character, Helen Mirren was able to work with want she was given and is the redeeming factor of Ella’s character.

The children of John and Ella were poorly written. Jane and Will were completely one-dimensional characters with flawed characteristics. Every scene with Jane and Will was very boring and almost unnecessary.

Lastly, the narrative of the film did not flow well. Many scenes of the film dragged the overall plot and the film felt too long. Many scenes of the film could have easily have been cut and it would have improved the pacing of “The Leisure Seeker”.

Despite the flaws of the film, I felt the ending did bring a sense of closure and saved the film from becoming mediocre.

Rating: 3/5 Stars

Angel Ortega can be reached at [email protected] or @theorion_arts on Twitter.