For Better or Worse: A Gendered Outlook of the films The Leisure Seeker and Alaska

Shlomit Aharoni Lir, Liat Ayalon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Although much has been written to date on gender equality, on personal liberty within the family, and on the burden of family caregivers of spouses, the manner in which these different aspects intersect and impact each other has gone largely unexamined. How do relationships of power and dependency interact? How do they affect the pursuit of happiness and the ability to maintain personal liberty within the family in times of sickness and poor health? Our analysis is based on a qualitative and comparative effort of two films: The first is Paolo Virzi’s The Leisure Seeker (USA, 2017). The second Zepel Yeshurun’s Alaska (Israel, 2018). The findings allow to identify a model of liberty within the family at old age that consists of three aspects: first, women’s freedom within an oppressive system: the ability of women in unequal conjugal relationships to retain agency, to act, to decide, and to struggle for their beliefs. Second, negative freedom: the struggle of old age couples to fend off over-involvement by concerned family members and caregiving institutions, and to assert their independence. Third, positive freedom: the desire of older couples to pursue happiness despite illness and old age.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1753-1768
Number of pages16
JournalFeminist Media Studies
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • Gender inequality
  • dementia
  • family studies
  • film
  • negative freedom
  • positive freedom
  • women’s freedom

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Communication
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts


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