In 1930s Hudson Valley, Margaret "Daisy" Suckley is reacquainted with her distant cousin, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, to help him relax at his family estate. That aid soon develops into much more as they become lovers. That puts Daisy in a unique position as Roosevelt receives the King and Queen of Britain in 1939 for a visit. As the Royal couple copes with the President's oddly plebeian arrangements, Daisy learns that there is far more to Roosevelt's life than she realized. With the world about to be set ablaze by war, friendships are struck and perspectives are gained on that special weekend that would make all the difference with a great, but very human, president.Written by
Kenneth Chisholm (email@example.com)
Bill Murray was already familiar with the difficulties of living with polio as his sister had suffered from the disease as a child. See more »
The dinner depicted in the film took place on June 10, 1939. In the movie, the moon is full that night. In actuality, the moon was half-full that night. See more »
Back then - this is years ago - I couldn't afford secrets. I just had chores. As a child growing up, we had been rich. And then, well, we weren't. And like most people during the Depression, I now lived each day as it came no longer expecting anything. Waiting. For nothing. And then...
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In 1939, Margaret "Daisy" Suckley, fifth cousin to current US President Franklin D. Roosevelt, is summoned to visit FDR at his country estate in Hyde Park, NY. He initiates a sexual relationship with her--we're told he thrives on the adoring eyes of young women--which surprisingly does not complicate his state of affairs, the fact he's married, or that his mother is a constant factor in his life. Bill Murray plays Roosevelt with wry humor and an unpretentious lift of the chin; crippled at this point by polio, yet unselfconscious about using crutches or by being carried around by an assistant, this Commander in Chief is a steady, low-keyed man so lacking in drama he's almost easy to miss in a crowd. Written by Richard Nelson, ostensibly based upon Suckley's diaries (discovered posthumously), "Hyde Park on Hudson" is austere and tasteful, if pointless. The Roosevelts' lack of a grand showing when King George VI and Queen Elizabeth visit is faintly amusing (the Royals are initially perplexed or put-off by the mild reception, but come to love FDR for his unadorned hospitality). Lara Linney as Daisy has to grapple with her feelings for a man whose time (and intimacy) must be shared, and occasionally she's too much of a sad anchor on the narrative; still, Linney's underplaying is in tune with director Roger Michell's handling, and she manages to carve out a genuine character without a lot to work with. The film has lovely passages, but is so thin it has to use Daisy's sense of betrayal for narrative tension (which is useless since nothing much is done to satisfy her--or us). Samuel West is wonderful as the stammering King (who livens up an otherwise disastrous formal dinner) and Olivia Williams is a fine Eleanor. **1/2 from ****
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