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Warm Springs back to product details

Biography--a Slice of It, at Least--Done Right
written by talltale October 9, 2005 - 9:37 AM PDT
1 out of 1 members found this review helpful
Of late, every time I see an HBO movie, I am amazed and grateful all over again. WARM SPRINGS is no exception. In fact it's probably one of the best. And-- boy--do we need it now. Dealing with Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the American President notoriously much-hated by the currently powerful (and, one hopes, temporary) Bush family, the movie details the Roosevelt's experience as a polio victim at a restorative health spa down south.

There, slowly bonding with owners, staff & other sufferers, he begins to understand the difficulties of life from the perspective of "the masses." If this sounds preachy and obvious, the film manages to make it truthful and moving. No small hurdle, but yeoman (mostly TV) director Joseph Sargent ("Something the Lord Made," "A Lesson Before Dying," "Miss Evers' Boys," and earlier "The Taking of Pelham 1-2-3" and "Colossus: The Forbin Project") handles everything so well that what you get is a movie that works almost perfectly, taking the term "mainstream" to new heights.

Kenneth Branagh (no surprise) is excellent, in his wert-and-all approach, and Cynthia Nixon amazes in her likeness to Eleanor and her pitch perfect, moment-to-moment reality. The entire supporting cast (including Kathy Bates and Tim Blake Nelson) is wonderful, and writing/acting-wise, every character, no matter how small, is beautifully rendered. Thankfully, the movie never pushes; there's a built-in reticence to the writing and direction that often takes us to the edge, but never over it.

Most importantly, "Warm Springs" allows us to see how a rich, would-be politician became a real one and also grew to understand his duty to the American people--which he then fulfilled, in spades. Is anything like this remotely possible today? If only.


(Average 6.75)
4 Votes
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