Hyde Park on Hudson
starring Bill Murray, Laura Linney, Samuel West, Olivia Colman, Elizabeth Marvel, Elizabeth Wilson and Olivia Williams
written by Richard Nelson
directed by Roger Michell
This is a story about the libertine sexual environment of former U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s summer home on the Hudson River, Hyde Park. It is told from the perspective of the President’s distant cousin, Daisy Suckley, who was one of the President’s lovers, or at least intimate confidants. The sexual charisma of men in power is a strange thing, and the relationship of Roosevelt and Suckley was a secret until the discovery of letters between the two after Ms. Suckley’s death at age 100 in 1991.
Much has been written about the President and his marriage to another distant cousin, Eleanor, whom some supposed to be a lesbian. Who knows what to think, especially so long after the fact? But the picture of Roosevelt’s personal life as it stands now is certainly colorful. Suckley is responsible for some of the very few surviving photographs that show FDR sitting in a wheelchair.
The story rotates around the visit to Hyde Park by Britain’s King George VI and Queen Elizabeth (the parents of the current Queen Elizabeth) in June 1939. It was the first visit to the United States of a reigning British monarch, the purpose of which was to canvass the American government’s support in the anticipated war with Nazi Germany. The stuttering king and the paralyzed president made an interesting pair.
I think Bill Murray’s performance firmly places him among the ranks of great actors. He’s come a long way from Meatballs (1979, directed by Ivan Reitman). Bravo! I liked Meatballs, however.