“Hyde Park On Hudson” is one of those rare movies you wished were a little longer, and perhaps a tad more in depth on a personal level. Bill Murray gives an engaging and revealing performance as Rooselvelt. It is primarily the story of FDR and his long-standing affair with a distant cousin, Margaret “Daisy” Suckley, played wonderfully by Laura Linney. It was just one of several dalliances in which Roosevelt was engaged while he was president. The women all eventually knew of each other and accepted the situation out of loyalty and expeditious reasoning. The movie focuses primarily on Suckley’s story. She began her affair with FDR in 1939 when he summed her to his mother’s family estate, Springwood, near Hyde Park in upstate New York.
Eleanor Roosevelt is played vibrantly and somewhat out of historic character by Olivia Williams. Also involved in this love triangle is FDR’s personal assistant Missy, played by Elizabeth Marvel.
Another key element of the script, which all takes place at Hyde Park, is a brief visit by England’s King George the V, played by Samuel West, and his wife Elizabeth, played by Olivia Colman. They make the stop to see Roosevelt while on a visit to Canada. The primary goal is to obtain commitment from the United States that we will stand with England against Hitler when war eventually breaks out.
“Hyde Park on Hudson” details almost as much about the visit of King George as it does about Daisy’s story. Based on true events (including George’s potentially scandalous downing of hot dog at a picnic) the film has moments in which it can be very engrossing, particularly about how FDR was perhaps crippled emotionally as much as he was physically. But like I said, the motion picture offers too little depth on too much material.