This movie is a portrayal of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s (FDR) relationship with his distant cousin Daisy, pivoting around the weekend spent with King George VI and The Queen at his titular holiday home in 1939. Thrown in are allusions to FDR’s well known dalliances with various female members of his staff.
In an unusual non comedic role Bill Murray pulls off an incredible FDR and I am surprised that he was not in the Academy Awards nominations list. Laura Linney plays Daisy as attractively nervous, an persona in which Linney excels. Samuel West and Olivia Colman as the English Royalty seem to play it at some stages with an almost pantomime air but this may be more the fault of the script rather than their performances.
I cannot stress enough that the film is almost worth a watch for Murray’s performance alone. The always competent Olivia Williams must have had a team of makeup artists to make her look like the plain Eleanor Roosevelt.
There are some lovely scenes, in particular a late night heart-to-heart between FDR and The King, We get small glimpses into the “West Wing” elements of the presidential machine of the 1930’s but sadly these are not the focus of the plot.
Unfortunately this is no “The Kings Speech” and neither is it a “Lincoln” and why? Well somewhere between, hiring a great cast, perfecting the atmosphere, and making sure the actors looked right, it seems they forgot to tighten the script.
Aside from historical inaccuracies e.g. they originally met them in Washington and all traveled down to Hyde Park On Hudson, the film-makers tried to pack too much in. None of the main or supporting plots are properly fleshed out. Consequentially it comes across less like “Lincoln”’s unfolding history (click here for my Lincoln review) and more like a very good if romanticised made-for-TV movie.
One for Bill Murray fans (I may have mentioned him already).
“Hyde Park On Hudson” is in Irish cinemas from February 1st 2013.
Here is the trailer.