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 (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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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Mediocre costume drama that wanted to be so much more.
Hyde Park on Hudson is a film that wishes to be seriously esteemed and respected as a minor historical film account of a momentous occasion; but it never gives its audience a serious reason to do so. It isn't a bad movie, it just never becomes the good one that it wants to be.
It (primarily) recounts the events of a weekend in June 1939 in upstate New York when the sitting -- this wasn't typed as a pun -- US president Franklin D. Roosevelt (Bill Murray -- Rushmore, Lost in Translation) welcomes the British King and Queen to his country estate. It was notable because a reigning British monarch had never visited America before and England was on the verge of war with Germany. Also in abundance at the estate -- meddling women ... be it mother, wife, secretary or mistress.
Laura Linney (Primal Fear, Kinsey) plays Daisy -- a distant cousin to FDR -- who is sent-for to help with FDR's wandering mind and calm him. Over time (the film spans more than a weekend), they become rather close and form another type of kinship. The story is told through Daisy which means we hear lots of narration and are given many snippets of time passing before the weekend (to see them develop a relationship -- which an audience never really does) until the monarchs arrive and it becomes ALL about the weekend.
There are plenty of decent moments in Hyde Park on Hudson including Murray as FDR and some wonderful shots of beautiful country landscapes. The film looks nice and the period detail will win some over; but the film fails to ever make a connection with Daisy. As the central character, the audience is given no real reason to want to follow her ... why is she really even here? I don't want to call her bland but the film gives us no reason to believe otherwise and absolutely no real reason as to why her and FDR forged their bond.
I appreciated the depictions of the King and Queen (this is the stuttering king Colin Firth won an Oscar for playing a few years ago and Olivia Colman is quite good as the uncomfortable queen) and their struggles with being in America such as their trying to fathom the "rage" about hot dogs.
Sadly, most of the rest of the film is empty -- like the Hyde Park estate would be when FDR returned to Washington. This should have been so much more ...
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