Hyde Park On Hudson
Even its glorious cast can’t redeem this “clumsy and lacklustre film,” writes HANNAH QUINN.
For years, I’ve dreamed of someone making a film about the adorable foibles of the British monarchy – especially that one guy with the stammer.
If only someone could be brave – nay, daring enough – to point out that Americans and Britons are slightly different. Like, they talk differently! Have you noticed? It’s so funny! But, to the eternal detriment of cinema, up until now, no one was prepared to stick their neck out and invest time and energy into this obviously fascinating and neglected genre.
So you can imagine my relief to find myself in cinema to watch Roger Michell’s Hyde Park On Hudson. Picture the scene. It is America. It is the thirties. The country is in a depression. We know this because the voiceover says ‘the country is in a depression’. The stammering king of England, played by Samuel West, is about to visit President Franklin D. Roosevelt (Bill Murray) to ask the USA to join World War Two. “A fascinating moment in history between two of the most powerful men on the planet!” I hear you cry. “Tell me more!”
No no, my friend. Fascinating moments are so last year. Instead, in between driving through meadows, getting awkward hand jobs from distant cousins, and wittering on about his stamp collection as if it is in any way significant, FDR holds a picnic. After a lot of pointless angst, King George eats a hotdog. And thus the special relationship is born.
As if this hot dog action wasn’t thrilling enough, half the film has a dreary voiceover from irritatingly naive FDR cousin/mistress Daisy, played by Laura Linney. She is ostensibly the heroine, except when the film totally forgets about her. To be fair, her storyline (has an affair with FDR, continues having an affair with FDR) is pretty forgettable.
“Oh. That’s it?” Yes. That is basically it. I mean, eventually, after the film ends, the USA joins the war, but who cares about that? I mean, George VI eats a hotdog! Hahahaha. It’s funny because he’s a king.
Hyde Park’s one saving grace is its cast. I spent the whole film wanting to scream at them all. I mean, come on Bill! You don’t need this, even if you do get to play a president! Sadly even the presence of a Ghostbuster can’t save this clumsy and lacklustre film. It gets its single star mostly because I can’t bear to see Olivia Colman with anything less. Some of her lines even made me smile. Her character, Queen Elizabeth, is still portrayed as a nagging snob though, because honestly, WOMEN. Don’t they just ruin everything? I prefer it when they know their place like Daisy and just do what they’re told without holding any opinions.
The film does a total hatchet job on Eleanor Roosevelt too, again totally deserved. She is so overrated. She even shows some respect to Native American culture – like, what a fucking bitch, am I right? Fucking non-white people and their culture. Let’s show more Americans being vulgar while the British people act really uptight. Haha, yeah, that’s more like it. God Michell, you genius. It’s like you know exactly what we’re all thinking!