Sunday, August 18, 2013

Saturday Movies: Hyde Park on Hudson (2012)

While the acting is good I have to credit Hyde Park on Hudson with being one of the most boring movies I've seen from last year thus far. I understand the appeal of wanting to make the movie, but there are two things that make this documented time in FDR's presidency uninteresting. The biggest one being that anytime you put cousin and relationship in the same lump it just doesn't make for an appealing sounding movie. Secondly, nothing interesting happens. We see a lot of mistresses pop up, some which we know were definitely women he had been seeing and others that are still rumors to this day.

Summary: It wasn't something that really happened, but FDR found it possible during his presidency. The King and Queen of England were set to visit New York to meet FDR on his property where he lived, Hyde Park on Hudson, as he called it. During that weekend though, FDR reaches out to his distant cousin, Daisy, in the search for some new company. There meeting turns into something more very quickly though, and before she knows it she has formed deep feelings for him, but it isn't without complications.

Acting: This is probably Bill Murray in one of his best roles. He seems to step out of his usual role and then he takes on this older, more mature, grown up man who is trying to make decisions that don't really help his ailing condition. The part of Murray that is usually in his roles is still there with him being quite a womanizer. Laura Linney though is really bland as his cousin, Daisy. There isn't anything too interesting about her, and she seems to just serve as an outlet for how his affairs are revealed.  You're mainly watching the movie because Murray has managed to be so good in a very slow movie.

Filming: Roger Michell does manage to capture a lot of the beauty of the surroundings with FDR taking ventures in his car through fields and woods, and terrifying any riders along with him. I also love the evening scenes after the king and queen arrive and they are having dinner. There is a certain atmosphere that is well captured about each scene, the movie is struggling with the fact there is nothing interesting to capture about the scenes in particular though.

Plot:  You have good acting and a movie that is shot in a way that is very pretty, but the biggest thing working against the movie is the fact the plot moves very slow. I understand what might be the underlining importance of the movie though disguised in FDR's affairs, and that is this movie shows how the relations with England and America did heal after many years of not being so great. I did like that aspect of it, and even though you have to be cautious about your history and movies, I still found it insightful.

Hyde Park on Hudson just truly documents something that probably isn't anyone's business about his life, but in the mean time it tries to expand on a king and queen visit that did make the difference for a lot of people. There are some humorous moments, but not enough. What is astounding is Billy Murray as FDR. He seems like an unlikely choice, but takes it and runs with it.

Rating 6 of 10.

Hyde Park on Hudson (2012) on IMDb

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