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The Leisure Seeker
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The Leisure Seeker

For the moment, the 74th Venice Film Festival has presented two recurring themes. On the one hand, the exorcism of the ghosts of History and the American present: an operation of political order that they have undertaken, each in their own way, Alexander Payne (‘A life in a big way’), Guillermo del Toro (‘La form of water ‘) and George Clooney (‘ Suburbicon ‘). The other protagonist has been the exploration of the passage of time reflected in the face of Hollywood stars: a project that was incumbent upon Robert Redford and Jane Fonda of ‘We in the Night’ and that extends to the work of Donald Sutherland and Helen Mirren in ‘The Leisure Seeker’, the new film by Italian director Paolo Virzì (‘The human capital’). It is shocking to see the always vivacious Mirren incarnating an old woman: a woman with cancer who decides to undertake an unthinkable caravan trip, from northern Massachusetts to southern Florida, with her husband (Donald Sutherland, lovely as always), a teacher of literature Alzheimer’s disease.

‘The Leisure Seeker’ contains elements that would have given for a great comedy by the Farrelly brothers. One imagines the party that the irreverent directors of ‘Dos siltos muy tontos’ and ‘Algo pasa con Mary’ could have taken to a road movie in which the driver suffers from dementia and the co-pilot fights furiously against death. However, far from any comic transgression, Virzì’s film is limited to repeat the operation proposed by the previous and forgettable Italian film, ‘Locas de alegría’, in which the psychological instability of the protagonist (a great Valeria Bruni Tedeschi ) gave rise to a warm humorous treatment that pointed to the denial of the disorder. In ‘The Leisure Seeker’ -a film without any mystery-, the comedy comes from the sweetening of the reality of the characters, a gesture that connects the film to references such as ‘Forrest Gump’ or ‘Life is beautiful’, works that carried to the extreme, the reconversion of the tragic into an inoffensive and at the same time lachrymatory divertimento. In this sense, Virzì’s film -incomprehensibly programmed in the Official Competition of the Show- bet by softening the heart of the viewer with his comedy of denial and then punish him with the calculated dramatic thrust of a reality that never comes to reveal its true hardness.

Duration: 112 min


IMDb: 6.6

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