If you loved The King’s Speech, you’re gonna love Hyde Park on Hudson http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1477855/?ref_=sr_1. There are no super dramatic moments where a king’s speech and his country’s fate seem hyper dependent on one another, but this movie gives the viewer a rare slice of life look at the presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, played by Bill Murray (yes that Bill Murray from the old SNL) through the point of view of a distant cousin of his, played by Laura Linney. Linney’s character, Daisy, is summoned to Hyde Park on Hudson by Franklin’s mother, and she reluctantly goes. She hasn’t seen her distant cousin in years and her fortunes and his seem so far apart that the distance seems unbridgeable. The slow awkward dance between them only serves to make this movie based on a true story come to life. The movie’s first focus is on Roosevelt ‘s ability at juggling the strong women he was surrounded by, his mother, Eleanor, his secretary and his cousin. Linney as his cousin is the newest and most taken in by his promises. But not for long.
The secondary focus is the meeting that is to take place at Hyde Park on Hudson, Roosevelt’s mother’s house, between the President of the United States of America and the King of England. It’s the first time a king of England has come to visit the President of the USA, so there’s a lot of apprehension on both sides. Bertie and his Queen are worried that they are being mocked, and the Roosevelts et al are worried that they won’t be authentically American enough, or that they will offend. The conflict between the American’s trying to be truly American and the British royalty seeing this as being a slap of their royal faces, even though they have come to ask Roosevelt for aid in the upcoming war against Germany, is interesting viewing. The curtsy, the ability to call the Queen of England, Just Elizabeth, the native American dancers and drummers brought in as entertainment for the hot dog picnic, all are examined for ulterior motives. Once again we see Roosevelt bridge the distance between them all with patience and ease, drawing on surprising common ground. The conflict over the hot dog picnic and its resolution is wonderful and heartwarming. The audience will come away with a great respect for Roosevelt’s ability to connect with people even if these are the same ways he employs to seduce women. The contrast between Franklin’s ability to forge personal bonds not only between himself and rather formidable heads of state, but between himself and rather reluctant women, all with the aid of the other women in his life, will keep this movie in your head.