Warm Springs (2005)

Warm Springs (2005)





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Warm Springs Photos

Movie Info

In the tradition of Dore Schary's Sunrise at Campobello, the made-for-cable biopic Warm Springs focuses on one of the least publicized aspects in the life of America's most-publicized (and longest-serving) president, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, here played brilliantly by British actor Kenneth Branagh. Like Sunrise, Warm Springs uses as its starting point the year 1921, when the 39-year-old Roosevelt was permanently paralyzed from the waist down by an attack of polio. But whereas the earlier film concentrated on FDR's battle to return to public life despite his handicap, this film zeroes in on Roosevelt's efforts to cure himself of his affliction. Having heard of the therapeutic value of the waters of Warm Springs in rural Georgia, Roosevelt makes a pilgrimage to the area, which is little more than a swamp surrounded by dilapidated shacks. Though he never experiences the "miracle" cure that he so desperately seeks, Roosevelt is instrumental in the conversion of Warm Springs from a backwater hellhole to a streamlined, efficiently managed polio-treatment center, a virtual mecca for hundreds of thousands of others who had been crippled by the debilitating illness. And in the process, he also brings hope, optimism, and racial enlightenment to the poverty-stricken, multiethnic citizens of Warm Springs. Even more significantly, FDR removes the stigma of polio from the public consciousness, forever abolishing the misguided notions that the disease adversely affected the brain, that it could be spread merely by physical contact, or that it represented celestial "punishment" of the victim (it is noted, however, that Roosevelt was always careful never to reveal the true extent of his immobility nor his atrophied legs in public, feeling that it might diminish the nation's image of an "invulnerable" Commander in Chief). Also in the cast are Cynthia Nixon as Roosevelt's devoted wife, Eleanor; Jane Alexander (who'd previously played Eleanor Roosevelt in two TV miniseries) as his over-protective mother Sara; David Paymer as his crusty chief aide Louis Howe; Kathy Bates as his no-nonsense physical therapist Helena Mahoney; and Tim Blake Nelson as Tom Loyless, the man in charge of Warm Springs. Originally telecast by HBO on April 30, 2005.
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HBO Films


Kenneth Branagh
as Franklin Delano Roosevelt
Cynthia Nixon
as Eleanor Roosevelt
Kathy Bates
as Helena Mahoney
David Paymer
as Louis Howe
Tim Blake Nelson
as Tom Loyless
E. Roger Mitchell
as Pete Collier
Matt O'Leary
as Fred Botts
Andy Davoli
as Jake Perrini
Andrew Davoli
as Jake Perini
Felicia Day
as Eloise Hutchinson
Dave Hager
as Pat Doyle
Nelsan Ellis
as Roy Collier
Brian Durkin
as Elliot Roosevelt
Brian F. Durkin
as Elliott Roosevelt
Matt Malloy
as Lionel Purdy
Devon Gearhardt
as Young Elliott Roosevelt
Jared Lang
as Young James Roosevelt
Alyssa Zirkman
as Jackie Mills
Brian Beegle
as Benjamin Pendergrast
Terry Loughlin
as Dr. Peter Hebert
Kenneth L. Zirkman
as Stuart Mills
Rand Hopkins
as Dr. Lovett
Steve Coulter
as Dr. Bissell
Melissa Ponzio
as Lucy Mercer
Jane Alexander
as Sara Delano Roosevelt
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Critic Reviews for Warm Springs

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Audience Reviews for Warm Springs


This movie was movingy well written and well acted. Kenneth Branagh's performance was especially poignant in his portayal of FDR during his most difficult and vulnerable moments. Cynthia Nixon was surprisingly good in the role of Eleanor. I loved the period setting and character actors, which added to the movie's quality. I highly recommend this movie to anyone interested in an entertaining depiction of a lesser known moment American history.

Michelle Toney
Michelle Toney

While corny, I found this film to be compelling. Kenneth Branagh pulled off Roosevelt so effectively that I forgot it was him in the role.

Sean Chick
Sean Chick

I thought this was a really fabulous biopic about FDR!! I thoroughly enjoyed the acting by Kenneth Branagh as FDR..he was great!! I thought it was interesting because it was the story of his life before he was President, how he was afflicted with polio and his struggles with the disease. Warm Springs is a place where he goes to find healing in his body but he finds it in his heart :) All the characters are played very well and I found this very enjoyable!!!!!

Robin P.
Robin P.

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