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Hyde Park On Hudson

Hyde Park On Hudson

Starring: Bill Murray, Laura Linney, Olivia Williams, Samuel West, Olivia Colman, Elizabeth Marvel.

This slice of life during a short period of time in the 1930s from the point of the polio stricken 32nd American president Franklin D. Roosevelt was a total surprise cleverly diverting from comedy to emotional acceptance.

In ‘Hyde Park On Hudson’, all the talk will be about Bill Murray as F.D.R. Impressive he may be but Laura Linney is exceptional as Daisy, a sixth cousin of the president reacquainting herself at his ‘other’ white-house in the picturesque Hudson Valley. It’s an important period with an impending Royal visit of the King and Queen of England about to arrive for a weekend of good public relations on American soil. The world is about to be set ablaze by war so allied talks of the countries uniting for support against Nazi Germany is also high on the agenda.

In between looking after the different needs of the high profile visitors, the president has become close to Daisy, spending time together on country drives and nights alone. Relaxation away from professional duties is important to F.D.R in a variey of forms. The film drifts off occasionally into unexpected territory that I won’t ruin in the review, but let me just say, not since her outstanding dual role in ‘The Truman Show’ or more recently on television in ‘The Big C’, has Laura Linney been so remarkably humane in a performance. Her presence on screen is demanding in every possible sense.

The humour is based around the Royals coping with various Americanisms including odd behaviour witnessed in the middle of the night to the mystery menu. In the latter part of the film where hot dogs are served at a picnic, the reactions from King George are priceless. Buoyant fun aside, it is a critical time in history and the subject is dealt with appropriately. Bill Murray is selective in his roles these days (no more Meatballs sequels). Not only does he show off his dramatic ability here, his comical background is also put to fine effect.

This is an all round joyous movie that as previously mentioned, goes in unusual directions not highlighted in the film trailers. Must see!

© Shane A. Bassett

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