Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Hyde Park on the Hudson (2012) Take 2

John already wrote up Hyde Park on Hudson but I wanted to throw my two cents in now that it's in theaters.

The film is the dual story of one  of FDR’s many times removed cousins who becomes one of his mistresses and an impending meeting of the Roosevelts and the King and Queen of England.

Bill Murray may very well win a best supporting actor Oscar in his smallish but imposing role as the President.  Murray holds the your attention every time he’s on screen. If you want to know when I realized he’s almost certainly an Oscar shoo in , it’s the scene where FDR  meets the King in private for a late night chat.  Not only does it reveal Murray in full glory it also is the best bit of writing in the whole damn film.

Unfortunately the rest of the film isn’t up to that one glorious scene.  The problem is that the film doesn’t know whether it’s a romance with or a comedy of manner with the royals. The film tries to mash them together and it doesn’t really work.  The more interesting story is the Royal one partly because that part of the film actually has strong characters, FDR, Bertie and Elizabeth.  It also has a strong story with a wonderful sting in its tale- that FDR is the one really in control of the situations and of the PR.

The less interesting story is the romance. The writing here is extremely weak. Daisy is never given anything to do other than lend a hand and to stand in the background as things happen around her. Even if Laura Linney had been a better actress she couldn’t have done anything with what Richard Nelson has given here, which is nothing.

Equally given nothing are the rest of the characters who are cyphers or non-entities.  You get not sense of any of them. Richard Nelson has been alleged to be one of the finest writers working today, but in all honesty you wouldn’t know it by the crap that’s on screen.

In everyone’s defense I do get the feeling that this may have been a much much longer film. If there is say a 3 hour version the film I’m guessing it may all make better sense. As it stands now it’s a good  half a movie with a brilliant performance by Bill Murray.

My advice is wait for DVD or Netflix

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