Hyde Park on Hudson

March 30, 2013 at 10:03 am | Posted in Film Review | Leave a comment
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I went to see this the other night because, generally historical pieces interest me. I was also curious to see how Bill Murray would handle the part of FDR (Franklin D. Roosevelt – 32nd President of the United States of America).

He, Murray, did a very good job.

The film is centered around the visit of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth to FDR’s mother’s house in up state New York just prior to World War II. The result of this visit would affect the course of history – the visit went well and America aided Britain in the War.

Times were different: no big entourages, little security (one stick of Fallschirmj√§ger and World War II might have had a very different outcome), and respect for privacy. The King and Queen have one one to advise them of to ‘interface’ with the Roosevelt household. There are four motorcycles around the Royal couple; Roosevelt drives himself, followed by a single local police car (no sign of a Secret Service detail, even though they started guarding the President after 1901). The Press never photographed FDR’s braces, being carried, or in any pose that might suggest he had been affected by polio. The Press never photographed FDR’s mistresses, or him with them.

The film explored his seemingly complex relationship with the women in his life.

The film is seen through the eyes of Daisy – a 5th cousin of FDR. The wider Roosevelt clan is well established in the Hudson Valley, and Daisy’s visits to distract FDR from his burdens, moves from tea to something much more intimate. This is a very disturbing element of the film: FDR’s mother seems to have procured Daisy for her son. Daisy’s relationship with FDR seems to be a closely held secret until after her death. Laura Linney is Daisy; and brings a naive innocence to the role. It turns out that FDR ha more than one mistress at a time – it is why he and his wife do not live in the same house!

Otherwise a gentle film set in another time and place: suitable for those seeking a gentle film with a bit of historical accuracy.

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