Hyde Park on Hudson

A weekend in the country with FDR

Directed by Roger Michell

(R)

**

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Maybe this period drama would have been better as farce, said Daniel Eagan in Film Journal International. Bill Murray delivers “a clever, carefully modulated performance” as Franklin D. Roosevelt, but his director “never establishes a convincing tone” for a story about a charming, polio-stricken president juggling two extramarital affairs while entertaining Britain’s king and queen. It doesn’t help that the narrator is a “drab, naïve, and insecure” woman who allowed herself to be used by Roosevelt but doesn’t seem to know it, said Richard Corliss in Time. Laura Linney disappears into the role of Daisy, and it’s never clear whether this milquetoast’s “breathless” recounting of the affair is meant to underline her feeblemindedness. Though Hyde Park is “one of the prettiest movies I’ve seen this year,” Murray’s impressive transformation is “largely wasted,” said Linda Holmes in NPR.com. “He really only gets to play a couple of meaningful scenes,” and those feature—instead of Daisy—a nervous young king and the threat of Hitler’s Germany. By the time Linney “returns for a final act,” she’s “ceased to matter to the story.”

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