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A runaway couple on an unforgettable journey in the faithful old RV they call the Leisure Seeker. The couple travels from Boston to The Ernest Hemingway Home in Key West, recapturing their passion for life and their love for each other on a road trip that provides revelation and surprise right up to the very end.
Roger EbertFull Review Below Average ./.. the movie sputters along toward its intended (and entirely predictable) destination. Even having tremendous actors like Sutherland and Mirren in the front seat can't enliven this vacation.
NY PostFull Review Average It's a sweet premise — Ella and John still love each other deeply, despite myriad problems and their declining health — that isn't fleshed out well in the leaden screenplay, which leans heavily on the most obvious Americana trappings to gin up a lighter side of senility.
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above is our interpretation of what the critic would give this movie based on
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Back when JOHN and ELLA SPENCER (Donald Sutherland and Helen Mirren) were
young, the '75
Winnebago Indian they christened "The Leisure Seeker" was a beloved family
getaway. Now, the Leisure
Seeker has become their actual getaway vehicle, an escape from their well-
intentioned but overbearing middle-aged
children. Faced with more care-giving than they care to accept, John and Ella
resolve to enjoy the freedom
of one last RV road trip on their own.
Old age and its challenges be damned, John still pilots the 20-foot-plus RV
with confidence, gusto, and (more
or less) capability. Their road trip will take them from their suburban
Massachusetts home, down along the East
Coast's iconic Route 1, all the way south to Key West and their intended
destination, the Ernest Hemingway
Home and Museum. It's a pilgrimage for John, who as a high-school English
teacher conveyed a reverence for
literature to generations of students, and who still quotes Hemingway and James
Joyce from memory even as he
loses track of his adult children's names. Ever the academic, John sports a
natty tweed jacket and tie as he
wheels the Leisure Seeker through the humid South; Ella, years younger than John
and plenty sharp of mind, is
a transplanted southerner with a breezy-belle chatterbox manner that belies a
core of strength and
determination. Much to the consternation of their apoplectic son WILL (Christian
McKay) and more accepting
daughter JANE (Janel Moloney), Ella refuses to divulge their whereabouts, asking
lovingly but firmly (from
untraceable pay phones) that the kids just let them enjoy this last spontaneous
Along the way, they sojourn at RV campgrounds and visit a historical theme
park, regale diner waitresses and
gas station attendants with chitchat and philosophy, stumble into a political
rally and finesse their way out of a
roadside robbery. For John, time is fragmentary; one moment he's blessed with
the ability to savor life (and an
ice cream cone) purely in the present; at another time, he's raging obsessively
about a romantic rivalry of fifty
years earlier. Ella must navigate the uncertain present and ominous future for
both of them, while she tries to
keep the past alive with anecdotes, photos, and nighttime slide shows which draw
curious campers to their
Through it all, John and Ella are sustained by their bond of shared love and
history. They still laugh and
bicker, comfort and resent, feel tenderness and jealousy, and still discover
surprising revelations after a
lifetime's long journey traveled together.