Dear Eleanor full movie review - Whimsical Tale
I would say perhaps the best way to enjoy this movie is not to take it seriously but regard it as a whimsical and humorous fantasy, and to just go with the flow of it all.
Initially set, in 1962, in Manteca, California, 15-year-old Ellie Potter (Llana Liberato), has just lost her mother in a car accident as she was heading to introduce the former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, and champion of human rights, at a local function. Ellie blames herself, as she refused to pick up her brother at school that day causing her mother to change course when the accident occurred.
Ellie is quite depressed as a result, as is her father Bob (Luke Wilson) However, Ellie's best friend Max (Isabelle Fuhrman) prepares and sends a letter to Mrs. Roosevelt asking for a signed photo, or even a meeting, in an attempt to raise Ellie's spirit. Max, though, is unaware that her friend Billy (Joel Courtney) has sent them a phony reply from the former First Lady saying she would be open to visiting with them in her home in upstate New York.
Thus, Ellie and Max will set off on a cross country road trip, hoping to eventually meet Mrs. Roosevelt. They'll be plenty of adventures along the way and, as mentioned, it's probably best not to take them all too seriously, but I felt the film became more enjoyable as it progressed.
Note: Just to mention there are a ton of over-the-top smoking scenes in the 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-written by Cecelia Contreras and Amy Garcia, contained quite solid acting from those already mentioned, plus Josh Lucas and Jessica Alba enhanced the movie, while even Patrick Schwarzenegger (yes-the son of Arnold) gets a small beefcake role here. To me, this film became more enjoyable as it progressed, eventually leading up to its quite poignant ending.