Whilst we have the YA (young adult) demographic with Hunger Games and The Maze Runner - we mustn't neglect the infamous Grey Pound target audience. Though these films play largely off one another - think The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and Calendar Girls - most capture that warm, cozy Sunday afternoon atmosphere that goes down pleasantly with a cup of tea and plate of Jaffa Cakes. The Italian produced Leisure Seeker plays on the idea of the later stages of life as we follow couple Elle and John Spencer (Helen Mirren and Donald Sutherland) taking a poignant trip in their trusty, vintage RV - The Leisure Seeker from which the movie takes it's name
The Leisure Seeker just about meets the mark of its elderly demographic, however it suffers badly from ageing wooden performances and - much like the faithful RV it follows - a rickety delivery. It seems almost impossible to imagine the all conquering Helen Mirren, Best Actress Oscar winner for the imperious Queen Elizabeth II back in 2006, in such a lacklustre role. Sadly, this substandard old time tear jerker that could've been saved by a few nips and tucks is left to rust on its own accord.
The Leisure Seeker's journey is as wayward as Mirren's shockingly inadequate southern accent. Her performance offers little character exposition; although Sutherland's performance is a tad more nuanced the two acting veterans fail to pump enough fuel into this rusty road trip flick. Their characters appear unconvincing and whilst the chemistry of their relationship is just about present, it feels as if you've come to view Mirren and Sutherland rather than the retired couple Elle and John they are portraying.
In its best moments The Leisure Seeker captures the crippling devastations of both Alzheimer's and old age itself. However this is obstructed by a confused and schmaltzy delivery, which is where the faults become apparent. It borrows too frequently from classic road trip movies and the problematic situations that can occur: being pulled over by the cops, leaving one another behind, being held a at knife point. The rest of the picture is delivered with a heavy hand and no real purpose, leaving us no choice but to buckle up and wait to see where it ultimately leads.
Heartbreakingly the film's sentimental aspects are almost entirely lacking. When it tries to be humorous it fails miserably so there isn't that natural balance between tongue and cheek humour and heart wrenching emotion. With the script being substandard and the performances so unbelievably poor The Leisure Seeker is very difficult to empathise with. Though its heart is in exactly the right place there is both little to offer or enjoy of The Leisure Seeker. In rare moments it tackles physical and mental illness well but The Leisure Seeker is a wishy-washy retirement road trip that lacks the key elements needed to make an engaging movie.
The Leisure Seeker:
Pinch of info
Hi I’m James - a huge welcome to my film blog! I started this site just after my 14th birthday and have been bringing you my own take on the hottest box office arrivals and many art house triumphs ever since.