There’s nothing like a bit of Bill Murray to spice up the season and with his latest movie Hyde Park on Hudson you can revel in this biographical feast about Franklin D Roosevelt and Daisy Suckley. Of course how could you fail to miss with a film speculating on whether the president had an affair with his cousin? Yet somehow the film fails to score in the interest department, rather than focusing in on the interesting story it tends to lean towards the fact that the king and queen are in town instead!
The film is based on the journal s of Daisy Suckley and centers on her affair with the famous ex-president. During the summer of 1939 King George and Queen Elizabeth visited Franklin Roosevelt’s country estate in Hyde Park. This was the first time a British monarch had ever visited the states and the narrative follows Roosevelt as he attempts to juggle the royal visit with his increasing infatuation for his sixth cousin Daisy Suckley.
Director Roger Mitchell is no stranger to the silver screen; he also bought us Notting Hill and Persuasion. He claims Bill Murray was the obvious choice for the role of Roosevelt by having the natural charisma of a man in a rumpled linen suit. Murrays performance hits the mark, let’s be honest when does Bill Murray ever do a bad job!
The answer is of course never! But somehow his whirlwind performance gets drowned out in the garden gossip affair that is Hyde Park on Hudson. Even the beautiful Laura Linney fails to inject any charm into the role of Daisy. In hindsight the whole idea of the tale seems too far out there to work. It seems like two films of equal interest have been stitched together to create a rather shapeless blanket. Mitchell would have had more success if he’d have honed in on one of the stories rather than trying to embrace it all. The effect is overpowering, confusing and leaves the other actors out in the cold whilst Bill Murray flashes his fantastic smile in the limelight.
You could call it a bland, comedy drama with little to offer film fanatics. The so called soft hearted comedy of manners also boats one of the most awkward romantic moments in cinema history! Others claim its little more than a soap opera crash and that it tries too hard to be an all American hit rival much like The Kings Speech, sadly it seems to fail.
Yet the performances have been praised, especially the acting skills of Bill Murray. The film will also prove interesting for those with an interest in American history and the secret lives of the men in charge. Yet if you are a stickler for truth in history this movie may get your knickers in a bit of a twist.
There could have been some real moments to spark interest in this portrayal of a lost summer; the first lady and her lesbian affairs, the culture clash of the royals and the more than platonic love between cousins. Sadly all these things are mashed together rather than explored which leaves you wishing the whole thing would be remade to tell a proper story.