Saturday, July 30, 2016

Nostalgia (part 6) - Dear Eleanor

Eleanor Roosevelt/

The 1960s were tumultuous.

Cold War. Vietnam. Counter culture. Hippies. US vs USSR Space race. Iron Curtain. Civil Rights. Assassinations. Not to mention: Drugs. Sex. Rock N Roll.

But the early 1960s were almost an extension of the perceived calmer, more innocent 1950s. Leave it to Beaver. Happy Days. Kennedy and Camelot.

And the year 1962 is the setting for Dear Eleanor (2016). The recently released movie, on DVD and internet, captures the spirit of those times.

It begins in California as the Ellie Potter's mother leaves the house that day to give an introduction to former first lady Eleanor Roosevelt. Only Ellie's mother is killed in a car accident along the way. The same day Marilyn Monroe died.

While Ellie's dad shrugs off his parental responsibilities and sinks into depression,  Ellie takes on the roll as Little Mom as the oldest girl. But Ellie's best friend Max the Wax has ideas. And convinces Ellie to ditch school for a road trip cross country. From California to New York.  To deliver her mom's speech to Eleanor Roosevelt in person.

During this "Thelma and Louise" type road trip, the Cuban Missile Crisis grips the nation, the girls unwittingly find company with an escaped convict from Alcatraz, and they pick up Max's Aunt Daisy, a dancer in Las Vegas. That is, Las Vegas, New Mexico. Not Nevada. Meanwhile, Ellie's father and the boy next door discover the girls' plans and are on their tail to bring them back home.

The extended movie trailer below sums it up pretty well.

It's a shame the movie didn't get a wider release. Based on what I've seen in the theaters these days, this would make it in the top ten percent or higher. And much of the songs, pop culture, news of the times, are interwoven in the story. At bit of nostalgia. Like Forrest Gump (1994). Only far more realistic of a story.

It was an uplifting movie with a good message. During difficult days, the heroines dream big and they go for it. Though it didn't turn out as they had hoped, they all were enriched by the journey.

And this movie has a special meaning for me. One of its writers  is Amy Garcia. Before I retired, I had the privilege of working with Amy's father. And I learned from him that his daughter had worked very hard over the  years, overcame many obstacles and setbacks, to see this project through.

To all creatives out there, this is encouraging. Take the risk! Go for it!

And never give up!


Previous Posts in the series:
 Nostalgia (part 1) - A Father's Thanksgiving Prayer  (2014)

Nostalgia (part 2) - Christmas Past in War and Peace (2014)

Nostalgia (part 3) - Something Old, Something New  (2014)

Nostalgia (part 4) - VJ Day Kiss - 70 years ago (2015)

Nostalgia (part 5) - Big Band and World War II  (2015)


Photo: Eleanor Roosevelt/

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