Pin It
Favorite

FDRrrrrggggh 

Bill Murray kills it as Roosevelt, but Hyde Park on Hudson doesn’t do his performance justice

click to enlarge Bill Murray, somewhere between FDR and Hunter S. Thompson.
  • Bill Murray, somewhere between FDR and Hunter S. Thompson.

For some reason known only to the folks at the Golden Globes, Bill Murray got a nomination for his portrayal of Franklin Delano Roosevelt in this film, under the category of “Best Actor in a Comedy or Musical.” But despite some comedic moments, and even though the preview trailers make the film look all light and funny and bubbly,

or some reason known only to the folks at the Golden Globes, Bill Murray got a nomination for his portrayal of Franklin Delano Roosevelt in this film, under the category of “Best Actor in a Comedy or Musical.” But despite some comedic moments, and even though the preview trailers make the film look all light and funny and bubbly, Hyde Park on Hudson is neither a musical nor a comedy.

It’s an historical period piece, set mostly on FDR’s summer estate in rural New York during the summer of 1939. World events, such as the beginnings of WWII were weighing down the polio-stricken FDR, who got around in a wheelchair or on crutches, or was sometimes picked up and carried by a burly assistant, or was actually able to drive a specially outfitted, hand-controlled convertible.

He drove around a lot that summer, often accompanied by the newest in a line of social secretaries, this one named Daisy (Laura Linney), FDR’s frumpy, old-maidish fifth (or sixth) cousin, with whom he was to begin another in a line of casual affairs. Yup, the crippled man of fireside chat fame apparently did quite well with the ladies, right under the nose of his powerful and pushy and apparently estranged wife Eleanor (Olivia Williams, Murray’s love interest way back in Rushmore).

The script also takes in the visit to the estate that summer by George and Elizabeth, the king and queen of England — the same stuttering fellow seen a couple of years ago in The King’s Speech, played here by Samuel West.

But not much really happens in the film. There’s a lot of talking, plenty of checking out the bucolic scenery, and too many missed opportunities for dramatic development. For instance, it could have been interesting to delve into whatever was left of the marriage of Franklin and Eleanor. But that part is glossed over.

Murray stands above the material here. His FDR is a guy you want to talk with, perhaps have a drink with; if you were a woman, he’s someone you might want to have a fling with. The film’s best scene is a wonderfully written late-night drinking session with the president and the king. The rest is pleasant, lightweight, pretty much forgettable. But any foodies out there will surely get a kick out of what’s to be learned about hot dogs. 

Tags:

  • Pin It

Latest in Film

  • Closing the Book
  • Closing the Book

    Peter Jackson bids farewell to his hobbits with one last, great movie
    • Dec 17, 2014
  • The One Who Knocks
  • The One Who Knocks

    Why an Australian indie called The Babadook became one of 2014's creepiest films
    • Dec 17, 2014
  • Let My People Go Big
  • Let My People Go Big

    Exodus: Gods and Kings fails when it tries to humanize its spectacle
    • Dec 10, 2014
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Mon | Tue | Wed | Thu | Fri | Sat

All of today's events | Staff Picks

or

More by Ed Symkus

  • Closing the Book
  • Closing the Book

    Peter Jackson bids farewell to his hobbits with one last, great movie
    • Dec 17, 2014
  • Stranger Than Fiction
  • Stranger Than Fiction

    Jon Stewart tries his hand at directing with the true story Rosewater
    • Nov 12, 2014
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • Fresh Spin

    A local record shop is reincarnated under a new owner, giving this generation a taste of vinyl
    • Nov 25, 2014
  • More »

Top Tags in
Music & Film

Film


Review


© 2014 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation