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DVD Review: Hyde Park on Hudson

April 9, 2013

Hyde Park on Hudson DVD CoverHyde Park on Hudson – An eOne Films’ Release

http://focusfeatures.com/hyde_park_on_hudson

DVD Release Date: April 9th, 2013

Rated PG for mature theme and tobacco use

Running time: 94 minutes

Roger Michell (dir.)

Richard Nelson (writer)

Jeremy Sams (music)

Bill Murray as FDR

Laura Linney as Daisy

Samuel West as Bertie

Olivia Colman as Elizabeth

Olivia Williams as Eleanor

Elizabeth Wilson as Mrs. Roosevelt

Our reviews below:

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Hyde Park on Hudson DVD Review By John C.

**1/2 (out of 4)

Back in 1939, Franklin Delano Roosevelt (Bill Murray) invited King George VI (Samuel West) and Queen Elizabeth (Olivia Colman) to his private estate, in order to discuss the alliance that England and the United States would have to forge during World War II.  But the mainly perceived cultural differences threatened to put a rift between the two countries, right down to the fact that the President planned to serve hot dogs at a highly publicized picnic.  The film is narrated by FDR’s distant cousin Daisy (Laura Linney), who he was having an ongoing love affair with at the time.

I do understand why Hyde Park on Hudson left many people scratching their heads when they came looking for a straight history lesson.  But the film plays as a surprisingly enjoyable comedy of errors, with just enough dramatic weight to keep things respectful of the characters and the true story, including a touching scene between the President and the King.  The always reliable Bill Murray gives a charming performance as FDR, and there is a delightfully awkward tone to the entire film that keeps things breezy and easily enjoyable.

The DVD includes commentary with director Roger Michell and producer Kevin Loader, as well as deleted scenes and a couple of featurettes.

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Hyde Park on Hudson DVD Review By Erin V.

**3/4 (out of 4)

Taking place in June 1939, Hyde Park on Hudson tells of a historic meeting between FDR (Bill Murray) and King George VI (Samuel West).  With a world on the brink of war, forging this alliance between nations was of the utmost priority and the President and those around him decide that the best way to do things would be to invite the Royal couple to his summer estate at Hyde Park on Hudson for a discussion, cocktails, and a good old-fashioned American picnic.

But the film doesn’t just lay its focus here.  Instead it tells a secondary story of FDR and the other women in his life, including the narrator of the film, Daisy (Laura Linney).  I didn’t personally mind this at times, although some may find the film takes itself in too many directions.  Admittedly, some of the best scenes are between Murray and West, as the President and King.

The whole film has an interesting and quirky comedic tone.  I feel that this was done intentionally by the filmmakers and while it may throw some off, I found it made it quite entertaining.  Now that it’s on DVD, for those interested, it’s good enough to be considered worth a rental at least.

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Hyde Park on Hudson DVD Review By Nicole

**1/2 (out of 4)

Hyde Park on Hudson tells a little known tale about Franklin D. Roosevelt’s (Bill Murray) affair with his friend and distant relative, Daisy (Laura Linney).  Taking place in 1939, the film covers FDR’s meeting with King George VI (Samuel West) and his wife Queen Elizabeth (Olivia Coleman).  The story of the meeting is the best part of the film.  A scene where FDR reassures King George VI about his stutter by pointing out that they both have physical challenges, (FDR used a wheelchair and braces due to polio), is particularly moving.

The dialogue between the King and Queen is quite funny.  However, the film drags a little during the rest of the movie.  While the affair between FDR and Daisy is interesting to watch, the movie would have been stronger if it had been more focused on one topic.  However, Hyde Park on Hudson is a fine period piece that history buffs may enjoy.

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Hyde Park on Hudson DVD Review By Maureen

**1/2 (out of 4)

Who knew that the lowly hot dog was the key to mending relations between Britain and the United States back in June 1939.  President Franklin D. Roosevelt (Bill Murray) liked to work from Springwood, his mother’s Hyde Park estate in the warmer months.  With WWII imminent the British monarchy, King George VI (Samuel West) and Queen Elizabeth (Olivia Colman), approached President FDR for a meeting to discuss support.

A weekend visit by the Royal couple to the United States was arranged by FDR’s wife, Eleanor Roosevelt (Olivia Williams) with a traditional American picnic being the highlight of the weekend.  The scenes between FDR and King George VI are the high point of Hyde Park on Hudson.  Both actors give solid performances and are well cast as the famous leaders.  It’s too bad that more of movie wasn’t focused on the two men.

Instead the story centres around FDR’s relationship with the women in his life in particular his special friendship with his distant cousin, Daisy (Laura Linney) who for years was rumoured to be one of his several mistresses.  Hyde Park on Hudson becomes a love story for the most part narrated from Daisy’ perspective.  While interesting, it doesn’t compare to the scenes with the Royal couple.

Hyde Park on Hudson is pleasant light entertainment even if it is a little slow moving at times.  The performances and the period feel make it worth checking out.

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Hyde Park on Hudson DVD Review By Tony

*** (out of 4)

Hyde Park on Hudson recreates the British royal couple’s (Samuel West, Olivia Colman) summer 1939 visit to FDR’s (Bill Murray) upstate NY country home, as narrated by Daisy (Laura Linney), who among others provided the companionship missing from the first lady Eleanor (Olivia Williams) who preferred to sleep with other women. Despite efforts by Eleanor and the president’s mother (Elizabeth Wilson) to keep the royals off balance, the king and president manage to forge a comfortable relationship.

Like a good play with a witty script, fine cast and the bonus of lovely scenery, Hyde Park on Hudson  nicely captures the awkward culture clashes tempered by discretion among powerful but flawed characters just before the outbreak of World War II.

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Consensus: Although Hyde Park on Hudson has a delightfully comedic tone that won’t be for everyone, the film is carried by an entertaining screenplay and good acting, including a charming performance from Bill Murray as Franklin Delano Roosevelt.  **1/2 (Out of 4)

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