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The Leisure Seeker

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Despite a warm audience reception at its Venice world premiere, Paolo Virzì’s English-language debut The Leisure Seeker was dismissed by critics as an awards season also-ran, although that didn’t stop the Hollywood Foreign Press from doling out a 12th Golden Globe nomination to star Helen Mirren. She plays Ella, an ageing Southern belle dying of cancer who resolves to bow out on her own terms by embarking on a road trip from Boston to Key West with her Alzheimer’s-stricken husband John (Donald Sutherland). Needless to say this is an absolutely shameless tearjerker, but I can’t deny that it did the job for me. Mirren’s accent is ludicrous, but she and Sutherland vividly evoke the sense of a relationship that’s spanned decades and suff ered countless setbacks. Meanwhile Virzì revels in the beauty of the open road, and serves up enough wry humour to off set all the schmaltz.

The Leisure Seeker | Directed by Paolo Virzì (Italy, US 2017) with Donald Sutherland, Helen Mirren. Starts January 4.

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