I saw this at an AARP pre-screening and found it to be funny and poignant. The entire audience, composed of young and old people, laughed aloud and applauded often throughout the film. Why? Because the topic, situations presented, and dialogue resonated with experiences common to the lives of everyone watching.
The film addresses topics not often seen in films: intimate loving relationships and romance in the elderly, Alzheimer's, end-of-life issues and family dynamics involved, dying with dignity, personal choice, euthanasia and suicide. There is no preachiness; the viewers are respectfully left with an emotional invitation to reflect upon these issues for themselves. Remarkably, this is done with humour and grace, without self pity or undue sentimentality.
The film is not Hollywood glitzy, it may even seem a bit drab at times, but this is part of why it rings true and makes the film work. Everything from the couple's home and basement, the RV they run off in, the campgrounds they stay in, and the nursing home they visit - all of it, remarkably familiar to most Americans. We are being asked to think about extraordinary issues relating to ordinary lives, similar to those we all lead, and it seems that this less glossy calling card works. This approach is also supported by the beautifully nuanced performances given by Mirren and Southerland as they let us into their world of romance, aging, family, incurable illness, and end-of-life choices, all while travelling the landscape of US Route #1.
From start to closing credits, group laughter, applause, and cheering revealed a palpable comradery among the audience members, which told volumes about how well the film accomplished its goal of raising awareness of important emotional, personal, social issues while still offerring an enjoyable night at the movies. I hope you have an opportunity to see it.