Bill Murray as FDR along with the rest of the cast in Roger Michell’s Hyde Park on Hudson makes the secret but not so secret love affair with Roosevelt’s distant cousin Margaret Suckley aka “Daisy” (Laura Linney; The Squid and the Whale, The Truman Show) a funny adventure at the president’s secluded upstate New York estate.
Roosevelt affiliates of all kinds stay on the Hudson River at Hyde Park: maids, aunts, shy distant cousins, jealous secretaries. And here we are in the spring of 1939, at one of the most crucial points in US-British history, so who other than the King and Queen themselves (Samuel West, Olivia Coleman) would be coming to grace Hyde Park with their presence?
Elizabeth and Bertie’s visit to the United States, that would mark the first ever by a British monarch, quickly turns into a weekend full of miscommunication, insecurities, a very untimely hot dog picnic, and of course, some heavy drinking.But in hopes of strengthening US-Britain ties on the cusp of WWII, they must put up a strong front to convince FDR their country is worth allying alongside.
Romance sparks when Daisy, a younger, naive distant cousin of FDR, starts spending lots of alone time with the president. He swoons her with his very posh stamp collection, and they go on extensive countryside drives (I think she might have even given him a handjob) together—seeming to alleviate any sort of stress brought on by anything war-related and the boredom his wife Eleanor (Olivia Williams).
The center of Hyde Park on Hudson‘s tale is told through the innocent eyes of Daisy, mainly portraying the weekend visit from the King and Queen and her affair with FDR. Here you have a young woman whose not only blatantly smitten by the facade of the President of the United States, but also oblivious to the truth of his extensively complicated life that she painfully learns she’s only a small part of.
Roger Michell’s portrayal of the infamous love affair brings to life what was only known through letters and photographs. Was it as entertaining and in depth as Tom Hooper’s award winning picture The King’s Speech? Probably not, but Murray’s performance as a crippled FDR and Hyde Park on Hudson‘s little moments make it worth the watch.
(photo via The Denver Post)