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A “Kidnapping,” an Escape, and a Road Trip with The Leisure Seeker

By Bianca Smith • January 19, 2018

What should two octogenarians with terminal illnesses do? How about "kidnap" themselves and run away to Florida? That's exactly what Ella and John do in The Leisure Seeker. Michael Zadoorian's novel isn't particularly original, but it is endearing. This week the movie adaptation opens in cinemas across North America starring Helen Mirren and Donald Sutherland.

As well as the book and movie title, the Leisure Seeker is the R.V. belonging to Ella and John Robinas, as named by Ella. It's their escape vehicle; for a final hurrah, against medical advice and the wishes of their adult children. Ella has terminal cancer and decides to cease treatments, but this is unknown to John, whose Alzheimer's symptoms mean he wouldn't remember being told. So he isn't. They travel along, stopping at campsites, and eating burgers. Evenings are spent watching slideshows of themselves in earlier years. Sometimes campsite residents join for the show. Like with any road trip, they fight and make up. It's all part of the journey, and you see their love all through.

The Leisure Seeker premiered at the Venice Film Festival last year and is Italian director Paolo Virzì's first English language production.

Fans of the novel should know there are a couple of changes in the movie. Mainly that Ella and John live in Boston, not Madison Heights, MI. Disneyland has also been subbed with the Hemingway house in Key West, FL.

For a sad, but delightfully encouraging evening, head to see The Leisure Seeker in cinemas. It's a heartwarming reminder to enjoy life to the most, especially when you know what tomorrow will bring.

Read more by Bianca Smith

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