The Leisure Seeker

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
The Leisure Seeker Movie Poster Image
Strong performances in otherwise meandering movie.
  • R
  • 2018
  • 112 minutes

Parents say

age 18+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

There's something to be said for living life to the fullest and enjoying one last blowout vacation before it's too late, but the ultimate message (suicide) will be iffy for some.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The characters are (almost) totally normal, regular people. They're kind and loving, but they also have flaws and make poor choices. They lose their tempers, brandish a gun, etc. One sequence takes place at a 2016 Trump rally, with people chanting "no more Muslims."

Violence

Two young men use knives to try to mug an old couple. Knife held to throat. Threatened with shotgun (not fired). Elderly people take a fall in the dark but are unhurt. Brief hitting. Suicide.

Sex

Brief, tender sex scene; no nudity. Fairly strong but intermittent sex talk and innuendo. Discussion of a past extramarital affair.

Language

More than one use of "f--k," plus "s--t," "a--hole," "bitch," "bastard," "balls," "hell," "goddamn," "damn," "stupid," "whore," "screw you," "you old bag," and uses of "for Christ's sake" and "God" (as an exclamation).

Consumerism

Diet Coke prominently displayed (and consumed) during one scene. A Winnebago plays a prominent role.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

A character drinks too much whiskey in one scene. Characters intentionally overdose on sleeping medicine. Characters drink regularly (beer, wine, whiskey, and champagne in one scene) but casually, in a social context. Prescription medication shown.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Leisure Seeker is a dramedy about an older married couple (Helen Mirren and Donald Sutherland) who desert their grown, worried children to take one last road trip. Language is strong, with more than one use of "f--k," plus "s--t," "a--hole," "bastard," and more. There's a brief, tender sex scene; you won't see any nudity, but you'll hear strong sex talk and innuendo. Two men try to mug the couple at knifepoint; a knife is held to someone's throat, and characters are threatened by a shotgun (it's not fired). Characters drink socially throughout the movie -- beer, wine, whiskey, and champagne; a character drinks too much in one scene. Prescription drugs are shown; characters intentionally overdose on sleeping pills. The movie offers fine performances but meanders into a melancholy, unsatisfying conclusion.

User Reviews

Adult Written byEric W. March 23, 2018

Mezmerizing events of how each one of us could finish in the end!

I think this movie is great! In the fact that it deals with strictly real life issues and ailments that could strike us all at some point in our life! It is a... Continue reading
Adult Written byStan B. May 10, 2018
Although it has a small amount of humor, it has no moral character. I would not recommend seeing this movie. Too much Hollywood, same old junk. Several other g... Continue reading

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What's the story?

In THE LEISURE SEEKER, Will Spencer (Christian McKay) arrives at the home of his parents, Ella (Helen Mirren) and John (Donald Sutherland), only to find that they're gone, having taken their 1975 Winnebago -- dubbed "The Leisure Seeker" -- and hit the road. John's memory is slowly fading, and he has trouble remembering things, so this is meant to be a kind of last hurrah -- which is why Ella refuses to tell her worried son and daughter, Jane (Janel Moloney), where they are. During their journey, they're pulled over by cops and held at knifepoint, but they also dance in an expensive hotel room and enjoy outdoor slide shows of their lives together. Things come to a head when Ella learns an old secret and when she collapses at Hemingway's house. But no matter what, the couple vows to never be apart again.

Is it any good?

This soft, languid road movie benefits from accomplished actors Mirren and Sutherland; they share a genuine chemistry, but despite some lovely moments, the film meanders and becomes lost. The Leisure Seeker is structured in little segments, one largely disconnected from the next, and when it stays light and hopeful, these work. But when they become focused on John's dementia, things take a melancholy turn that's inescapable and hopeless. And even some of the lighter scenes -- such as the attempted mugging -- fail to work because they're too light; they don't feel like life.

The roles of Ella and John's children, played ably by Moloney and McKay, don't quite fit anywhere, either. They mostly talk about their parents and argue about their care, but the movie doesn't really address much beyond that. The wonderful moments show the older couple's bond at its strongest -- when they're almost able to understand each other's thoughts or how to work each other's moods. But even these tend to feel upturned by the movie's mournful ending. Yet the characters are in place; if only The Leisure Seeker could have been a more truthful movie ... and a shorter one.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how The Leisure Seeker depicts sex. Is it tender? Funny? Embarrassing? What does the movie reveal about marriage, age, and physical relationships?

  • How does the story handle suicide? Is it viewed as positive, negative, or something in between?

  • How does the movie depict drinking? Is it glamorized? Are there consequences? Why does that matter?

Movie details

Themes & Topics

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