Sunday, December 18, 2011

Movie Night: "Warm Springs"

Now that TV rerun season is beginning and will go through the holiday season, we'll have more time for Netflix movies. We do have lots of our regular shows recorded to catch up on too, but we finally watched a movie.

"Warm Springs" may sound familiar to you as it is where President Franklin Delano Roosevelt died. You may remember his mistress was there with him rather than his wife. Eleanor was probably home in the cottage she had built at the family estate in New York. She was still married to FDR but no longer bothered to keep up the fantasy that they were actually happy together.

When FDR was stricken with polio during a family vacation on the island of Campbello off the northern coast of Maine, he was convinced his budding political career was finished. He was devastated and depressed. He went south and hired a man to care for him; he was paralyzed from the waist down permanently. At first he refused to believe it was permanent and in a determination to walk again, he went to a place in Georgia called Warm Springs. He had seen an article about a boy who, because of the warm mineral water in the pool there, had begun to walk again.

Warm Springs turns out to be a wreck of a place but as FDR swims daily of course his legs regain some strength. There are many ups and downs but finally the only actor I recognized in this movie Kathy Bates, as a physical therapist, comes to Warm Springs, FDR buys the place, and together they turn it into a rehabilitation hospital for people with polio. I was surprised to learn that it is still in operation today.

Kenneth Branagh was good playing FDR who was larger than life in his lifetime and has become legend since. Eleanor is portrayed by Cynthia Nixon with that famous overbite and strange voice, but wonderful strength and intellectual brilliance. Again, this is a difficult role but was well done.

The movie is sentimental and leaves one with the wrong impression about the future life of this couple, but it's warm and funny as well. I thought it a good movie for this season.


  1. I've actually been to Warm Springs, GA, so I'd probably find the movie interesting.

  2. Kenneth Branagh is usually good - I could also have admitted he is one of the few non-Danish actors I can recognize ;) - so I may give this film a chance if it comes our way. The older, the more likely these December days.

  3. I can't remember what year this is from, but I think you'll like it, Kathy and Dorte.