The Leisure Seeker
Italian director Paolo Virzi makes his English-language debut with this story of an elderly married couple taking one last road trip in their beloved RV. Helen Mirren plays Ella Spencer, a steely Southerner married to Donald Sutherland’s John, a Yankee professor with rapidly advancing dementia. About to be separated by their dopey children (every character under 70 years old is seen as a simpering, stammering gargoyle), Ella and John steal away from their Boston home to visit the Hemingway House in Florida, revealing the usual Big Secrets along the way. Set in 2016 on the eve of the Trump presidency, The Leisure Seeker wants to be an elegy for the compassion, intelligence and cultural curiosity symbolized by Ella and John, but the lowbrow humor and easy targets undermine any noble intentions. There are a handful of nice, intimate moments between Mirren and Sutherland, but this is largely an exercise in rancid quirk.