I went to see Bill Murray and Laura Linney in Hyde Park on Hudson. Read Roger Ebert’s review to get the gist of it.
I just have a thought or two to share about this movie. Lots of movies show strong women characters capable of great love, and some show what great, often undeserved, forgiveness looks like. And isn’t that the point of forgiving? That sometime it is undeserving, but we do it anyway? This movie seduces the audience into believing that the big powerful president, hidden inside a frail polio ridden body, succeeds in getting his way, with the women in the movie, with the young King of England, indeed, with everyone he interacts with, by use of wit, timing, and the cunning use of flags.
At one point in the movie, Laura Linney has you completely believing that she, and only she, can give the president what he needs. You believe, momentarily, that he deserves somehow to have her. President Bill Clinton deserving a fling with Monica Lewinsky, to get a break from the stress of running a country. You can believe it, but believing it will say an awful lot more about you than it does about her.
This movie earns it’s “R” rating with an uncomfortable scene or two perpetuating the idea that strong powerful men are cads, entitled to their vices. I loved Bill Murray in Lost in Translation. While less quirky, that film also uses Murray’s great ability to make you care for his characters, flaws and all.
I enjoyed this movie, but I didn’t believe a word of it. And maybe that was the filmmaker’s point. If you walk away in disbelief, you can hold an idealistic opinion of FDR intact.
My local reviewer called this movie “disjointed and formless.“ I thought it was linear and artistic. It showed a lot of heart, just a heart not necessarily in the right place.