Movie Review for Hyde Park on the Hudson

Hyde Park on the Hudson   

Starring:  Bill Murray, Laura Linney, Olivia Williams, Samuel West, Olivia Coleman


Directed by Roger Michell


Rated: R

Run Time: 94 mins

Genre: Comedy/ Biography/ Drama


Opens December 14th


By Lisa Minzey of The Reel


Opening in theaters this week is “Hyde Park on the Hudson”, starring a stellar ensemble cast of Bill Murray, Laura Linney, Olivia Williams, Samuel West and Olivia Coleman. With the 2013 Golden Globe Nominations released this week, one thing on viewers minds will be if Bill Murray walk away with an award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy for his portrayal of the 32nd president.

Told from the point of view of Daisy (Laura Linney), the film chronicles the presidential years of Franklin Delano Roosevelt (Bill Murray) and his time spent at his mother’s summer home in Hyde Park, NY leading up to World War II. Daisy had been summoned by one in FDR’s camp to keep him company while he was recovering from a cold. Since she was the only family member (they were cousins 6th removed) to reply to his summons, she ended up forging a close relationship with the tenacious president by being a “friendly” companion.

F.D.R.’s wife, Eleanor (Olivia Williams) is in the middle of planning events to entertain King George VI (Samuel West) and Queen Elizabeth (Olivia Coleman) during their visit to Hyde Park. The purpose of the trip is to get America to form an alliance with Great Britain if Hitler was to attack.  The whole town is a buzz that the first time in the history of the United States, British Royalty will be setting foot on American soil. Being the free thinker she was, Eleanor plans a picnic to honor the King & Queen, complete with Native American dancers and barbecuing hot dogs.  The mere though of the King eating a hot dog is mortifying to Queen Elizabeth and is worried that this will reflect badly on the monarchy.

During the monarch’s visit, Daisy discovered she wasn't F.D.R’s only special friend which enraged and devastated the overly patient woman. Although she acknowledges Eleanor is FDR’s wife, she attends to his needs and acts like his wife rather than Eleanor. Will she continue to look the other way and continue to be a part of the inner circle, or will she cut the president off cold turkey?

With the success of "The Kings Speech", having another film focusing on the King of England in a different light almost cheapens the Bertie role in Hyde Park. Much of the film is like a soap opera set pre-World War II, hitting hard on the comedic and dramatic moments.  If you thought the Kennedy or Clinton scandals were juicy, FDR may have trumped the other two. With much of the sexual tones implied rather than seen, Bill Murray and Laura Linney have commendatory chemistry for a secret relationship between 6th removed cousins.  By the tone of the film, the relaxed approach to FDR’s presidency cheapens and makes him a caricature rather than a historical figure. You be the judge when the film opens in Phoenix theaters starting Friday December 14, 2012.