November 28, 2014
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Hyde Park On Hudson
Don Fowler
3 stars
Reviewer's Rating:

(Brief look at FDR's life and loves)

Bill Murray makes a convincing Franklin Delano Roosevelt in this brief look at the president during a summer in 1939 at his residence in Hyde Park.

Laura Linney is wonderful as his distant cousin, Daisy, whom he calls upon to spend time with him, first as a relative, then a friend, and finally a lover. It seems that old FDR enjoyed female companionship to be more intimate than his relationship to his wife. Olivia Williams plays Eleanor, a strong woman who knew what was going on and didn't seem to care, preferring to live her own life. The story is told in retrospect by Daisy without shame or regret.

The big event of the summer is a visit from the King and Queen of England. George IV was the stuttering king portrayed by Colin Firth in "The King's Speech.” Samuel West does a very good job in his characterization. The king and queen are a bit overwhelmed by FDR's lifestyle and frankness. They can't quite fathom up to a planned hotdog picnic, covered by the press, who see a great photo op. The culture clash leads to some funny moments in this low-key movie that show a side of FDR most of us never saw.

This is one of those movies that you can chalk up as "interesting.” Not a lot happens. Secrets (supposedly true) about Eleanor and Franklin are matter-of-factly revealed. And life goes on at Hyde Park. Times were different then, and the press honored the president's privacy.

Rated R, with minor profanity and nudity, and what then was a "shocking" look at presidential infidelity.


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