Our 16-year-old film blogger Jack Bool reviews Hyde Park on Hudson
09:55 04 February 2013
Hyde Park on Hudson stars Bill Murray as FDR and follows the story of the love affair that took place between the former president and his distant cousin Margaret Stuckley, centred around the weekend in 1939 when the King and Queen of the United Kingdom visited upstate New York.
Admittedly Hyde Park on Hudson is not for everyone. To me it’s the type of film for older couples or anyone with a slight interest in history and whilst it’s not a great film there were particular elements to it that I enjoyed.
For one Bill Murray’s portrayal of FDR is brilliant. Before entering this film I had heard a great ordeal about how good Murray is in this film and it’s safe to say I wasn’t disappointed. Don’t get me wrong President FDR isn’t one of my historical strongpoints so this film was rather interesting to me at times, despite not really sharing a lot other than the fact that FDR liked to collect stamps. For me as good as Murray is I couldn’t help but feel his on-screen chemistry with Laura Linney was pretty lacking. By no means is it unbearable to watch, it’s just that I found myself to be detached from their storyline, in fact I was far more interested in the sub-plot that revolved around the King and Queen, which leads me onto my next point Samuel West delivers a great performance as King George VI.
I think what I am about to say really will determine whether you want to view this film or not, the most enjoyable part of the film for me personally, was when the King and Queen where trying to determine whether the president was making fun of them by placing hot dogs as the main meal at the picnic, sound boring? Yes it probably does.
It isn’t the most serious of historical films so going into this you can’t really expect anything in the same vein as Spielberg’s Lincoln, however depending on what type of individual you are you really need to be certain that you want to see this film before viewing it, because as I said it definitely isn’t a film for everyone.
Despite not being full of thrills you really have to acknowledge the amount of work that has gone into it. The retro soundtrack works really well, as do the outfits, cars and scenery in terms of being a period drama it could well be one of the finest examples of 2013, so in that respect although it may be incredibly slow the craft is there as is the acting, so its blatantly obvious the team behind this film have tried their best even if it may not be the most exciting of subject matters.
Overall Hyde Park on Hudson is a very low-key film and if you have interest in American history or fine performances as well as hard work on the director’s part you may find some enjoyment in this film.