“Hyde Park on Hudson” is about President Franklin D. Roosevelt, his staff, his family, and his love life in the summer of 1939…
Weeks before King George (Tim Beckman) and Queen Elizabeth (Olivia Coleman) are to visit upstate New York, FDR (Billy Murray) takes on yet another mistress, young Daisy/Margaret Stuckley (Laura Linney). Daisy’s slightly disabled aunt (Eleanor Bron), with whom Daisy lives, does not seem to understand her niece constantly being called away by the President to his pretty country estate nearby.
By this time FDR’s polio is quite advanced. He cannot walk without support and is usually carried to various locations; however, he has had a car made especially for him that is driven by hands alone. And, his libido has not been affected.
FDR fascinates and woos Daisy with the same words and tactics as his other women, but she thinks she is special. His lies and the truth slams her in the heart, however, she eventually accepts the situation, as has his long-time secretary Missy (Elizabeth Marvel) and his wife, Eleanor (Olivia Williams), who seems to be leading a separate life at times. (They could get away with so much back then without all the media.)
We are not introduced to the Roosevelt’s five children (a sixth died in infancy) or to any grandchildren, if any were there in the summer of 1939. The household at Hyde Park is rather chaotic, both personally and politically. Eleanor decides to have a picnic at a new cabin FDR built to get away from everything at the house and to serve hot dogs to the King and Queen, whose visit is remarkable for being the first time royalty has set foot on U.S. soil. She also arranges some Native American entertainment…
After Margaret Stuckley died at age 99, a stash of her letters were found, which led to the making of this film. Danny and I liked it for Bill Murray’s performance and the bits of humorous writing. It was interesting, but not a blockbuster. I imagine most people younger than 50 will not see it or think much of it if they do.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars.