Much to the dismay of their overbearing children and physicians, elderly couple Ella (Helen Mirren) and John Spencer (Donald Sutherland) take to the road for what could be their final outing in the family’s vintage RV.
A charming adventure for the ages.
Despite John’s (Donald Sutherland) deteriorating memory and bouts of confusion from developing Alzheimer’s, the retired English professor’s eyes light up whenever he looks at Ella (Helen Mirren), his devoted, firecracker of a wife. Ella wants her husband’s last memories to be something special, so the rebellious Southerner hatches a plan to take the family RV (aptly named “The Leisure Seeker”) down to Key West, the home of John’s literary idol, Ernest Hemingway. Though the two are flooded with worried phone calls from their grown children, the impulsive trip lights a spark in John’s memory. But when Ella’s own health starts to wane and buried memories resurface, their unbreakable bond begins to show cracks. With his first English-language film, Italian co-writer/director Paolo Virzi shares a story of the mysterious healing powers of the road, and continues his exploration of characters confronting mental illness, a theme begun in his previous feature Like Crazy (PSIFF 2017).