Runtime: 1 hour, 29 minutes
Director: Kevin Connolly
Starring: Isabelle Fuhrman,Liana Liberato,Jonah Isaac Abrams
Genres: Drama, Adventure, Action, Comedy
Studio: Sony Pictures
MPAA rating: PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned)
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Best friends Ellie and Max set out on an adventurous, cross-country road trip to meet former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt.
Modest "Road" Picture is Fun & Light-Hearted
The strength of "Dear Eleanor" was in the scripting that includedclever dialogue and situations filled with nostalgia of the early1960s. From start to finish, the scenes were lively as two teenagerstake to the road for a cross-country trip from California to New Yorkto visit Eleanor Roosevelt in 1962.
The film starts in the breadbasket of California in Manteca. A younggirl’s mother dies tragically in an auto accident just before she coulddeliver a short speech introducing Eleanor Roosevelt. To honor hermother, the main character enlists her best friend to make the trip toNew York. Along the way, there is a series of improbable events. Whilemost of the scenes are silly, there is nonetheless good humor and charmthroughout the film.
Part of the charm of the film derives from the screenwriters’references to movies and culture of the early 1960s. While seriousevents are introduced, such as the Cuban Missile Crisis, the writerskeep the mood light, constantly interjecting humor and silliness. Themost absurd situation was a traveling companion picked up by the girls,who is an escaped convict, who bails them out of difficulty when theyare arrested. Later, the convict inexplicably drops out of the plot byboarding a single-engine airplane and flying off into the sunset.Without a doubt, the scenes with convict are the funniest in the film,especially the banter that implies that the man might be one of thefelons from Alcatraz, who made a daring prison break at this time.
While the character of Eleanor Roosevelt was not developed in muchdepth, she was still given a fine tribute for her many humanitarianachievements, not the least of which was delivering her own speechabout civil rights in the face of threats from the KKK. This was athoughtful film with both humorous and touching moments from writerswith excellent potential.
Enjoyable movie filmed in my home area.
I might not have seen this movie except that I know that it was filmedin and around the area in which I live. It would have been a shame hadI not seen it because I would have missed seeing a good road trip film!"Dear Eleanor" is about two girls on a cross country road trip fromCalifornia to the east coast on a quest to meet Eleanor Roosevelt.However, other than a scene or two shot in Utah the movie was filmedalmost entirely in and around my hometown of Longmont, Colorado(Population 90,000 plus and 35 miles north of Denver). For example, thescene that is supposed to be a Police station in Kentucky is actuallyan old library building in Longmont. A scene that shows the Chryslergoing past Janie’s Café is also in the older part of Longmont. Therewere numerous other scenes shot in Longmont including a farmhouse justoutside of town and some of the interior shots in the film as well.Eleanor Roosevelt’s house on the east coast is actually a house in oldtown Longmont. The scene where Bob Potter’s truck breaks down and BillyHobgood gives him a ride in his motorcycle’s side car was shot justoutside of Longmont. The town of Manteca Ca. in the film is actuallythe small town of Niwot, Co (about five miles from Longmont). The sceneat the "Country Corner Store" and gas station is actually an abandonedstore in the small town of Hygiene about a mile from the western edgeof Longmont. The interior of what is supposed to be the Paramounttheater in New York is actually a theater in Denver. It’s too bad thisfilm did not get a proper theatrical run. It was shot in 2:39:1 aspectratio which would have been perfect for theater release. I do recommendthis movie for at least a rental or good addition to any collection.
Like a Hallmark story – only better
A very nice and simple ‘road movie’ of two early teen girls drivingfrom California to New York state to meet Eleanor Roosevelt. One girlis making the trip to appease her guilt feelings and the other is abest friend going along in support of the others mission.
Along the road a spectrum of odd characters are met and two have reasonto join the girls in their cross country adventure. I do not want togive any details about the story as it is the story that gives thisfilm it’s charm. Anyone who enjoys road movies and wants a clear simpleand nice story then this flick is the right choice. It’s not greatacting nor is the script first class writing but as a whole it workswell and is entertaining!
Does it have a happy ending – no – and – yes! Watch this film to findout why.
I would say perhaps the best way to enjoy this movie is not to take itseriously but regard it as a whimsical and humorous fantasy, and tojust go with the flow of it all.
Initially set, in 1962, in Manteca, California, 15-year-old ElliePotter (Llana Liberato), has just lost her mother in a car accident asshe was heading to introduce the former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt,and champion of human rights, at a local function. Ellie blamesherself, as she refused to pick up her brother at school that daycausing her mother to change course when the accident occurred.
Ellie is quite depressed as a result, as is her father Bob (LukeWilson) However, Ellie’s best friend Max (Isabelle Fuhrman) preparesand sends a letter to Mrs. Roosevelt asking for a signed photo, or evena meeting, in an attempt to raise Ellie’s spirit. Max, though, isunaware that her friend Billy (Joel Courtney) has sent them a phonyreply from the former First Lady saying she would be open to visitingwith them in her home in upstate New York.
Thus, Ellie and Max will set off on a cross country road trip, hopingto eventually meet Mrs. Roosevelt. They’ll be plenty of adventuresalong the way and, as mentioned, it’s probably best not to take themall too seriously, but I felt the film became more enjoyable as itprogressed.
Note: Just to mention there are a ton of over-the-top smoking scenes inthe movie, but in those days smoking in public was extremely prevalent,even encouraged by advertisers etc.
Overall, I thought this film directed by Kevin Connolly, and co-writtenby Cecelia Contreras and Amy Garcia, contained quite solid acting fromthose already mentioned, plus Josh Lucas and Jessica Alba enhanced themovie, while even Patrick Schwarzenegger (yes-the son of Arnold) gets asmall beefcake role here. To me, this film became more enjoyable as itprogressed, eventually leading up to its quite poignant ending.