Road trip anyone? Helen Mirren and Donald Southerland are out for the all American road trip in Italian director Paolo Virzi’s first English-language film, The Leisure Seeker. Based on Michael Zadoorian’s novel, the award-winning director uses the film’s star power to boost its mediocre yet authentic storyline that boldly captures the struggles and beauty of growing old in love.

Mirren and Southerland play Ella and John Spencer. John is a well-read retired English teacher but his brilliant mind is slowly fading to Alzheimer’s. His wife of 50 years, Ella, a sharp, Southern woman, is not in perfect health either. In her late 70s, she gets awful headaches and she self-medicates with pills and whiskey while tending more to the needs of her deteriorating husband and navigating the uncertain present and ominous future for both of them.

Still in love, and despite their health problems, the two lifelong companions set out in their Winnebago to take one last road trip together from their New England home to Ernest Hemingway’s home in Key West, Florida. A pilgrimage for John, and a pretty fitting destination being that John is an English professor who regularly taught and quotes the famous American author due to his reverence for literature.

Alas, there are two people who are worried about their aging parents’ spontaneous foray: their adult children Will (Christian McKay) and Jane (Janel Moloney). However, the couple almost seems to be escaping their grown kids, along with the rest of their everyday burdens and are using their RV as the vessel to do so. Yet, emotions are evoked when Ella shows John family photos of moments in their life that he has forgotten when they stop at a campsite along their East Coast route.

The film makes an attempt at shifting towards comedy when, even after 50 years of marriage, jealousy rears its ugly head and these two lovebirds start obsessing that the other cheated. John, in his fading mind, thinks he is 50 years younger and accuses Ella of wanting to be with another man and Ella tries to drag bits of memories from John’s past to fit her narrative.

Helen Mirren does her best to pull off a Southern accent throughout the film’s nearly two-hour runtime but the Academy award-winning actress falls short. Mirren makes up for what she lacks in dialect with witty banter and that famous Mirren charm.

While The Leisure Seeker is beautifully shot, the film falls somewhere between a comedy and drama and that gray area isn’t a good one. Nonetheless, the film does successfully manage to morph into a drama, as the ending is just as poetic as the prose John recites from some of the greatest minds that ever lived.