Hyde Park on Hudson isn’t a title which will mean much to you if you don’t know much of American history (like I did). The title references the house president Roosevelt had near New York. It was a place he stayed regularly if he wasn’t in Washington. The movie is set just before Hitler started his war in Europe. The English see the threat and the king decides to come to Hyde Park to get support from Roosevelt. The movie tries to depict the historic characters as normal people, including their flaws, but does the movie manage to do that?
Daisy (Laura Linney) is a distant cousin of the president, who has been invited to meet him. They get to know each other better and become lovers. She’s invited to visit Hyde Park, where he meets the wife and mother of the president. She finds out a lot about everything that is going on behind the scenes. When the king is visiting everything needs to be prepared to perfection, but not everyone agrees on what that means. When they finally arrive there is an awkward atmosphere. As a viewer you see how the king and queen talk against each other about the Americans when they are alone and it remains to be seen if the situation they are in can be turned into a succesful visit.
Although the film manages to convincingly portray the time period and Bill Murray shows that he can breathe life into his role of Roosevelt, I felt the movie lacked focus. Initially it seems to be about a love affair, but once the royal family arrives it seems to be about them and the squabbling that goes on between everyone. Something which should be a depiction of a historic event quickly turns into a slow and boring movie where it seems that the most important question is whether or not the king should eat a hotdog. The love story returns towards the end, but by that time you will have lost interest in it. Unfortunately Hyde Park on Hudson doesn’t offer the fascinating story you’d be expecting. The movie has too little emotion and at no point during the film do you get the feeling you really get to know the characters.