Hyde Park on Hudson

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Hyde Park on Hudson should have been more titillatingly titled Handjob on Hudson. The most demurely shot jerk-off in cinematic history is the only remotely interesting part of Roger Michell’s film about Franklin Delano Roosevelt and his “fifth or sixth cousin” mistress, Daisy. Bill Murray’s performance as the polio-ridden FDR? Serviceable but generally unimpressive. And Laura Linney’s Daisy should be classified as a sleep aid. The story, by first-time feature writer Richard Nelson, takes place mostly over one weekend in 1939, when England’s royals (Samuel West and Olivia Colman), visited FDR’s Upstate New York retreat. Before that, though, Roosevelt had gotten cozy with his cousin, though she’s always just on call because of Roosevelt’s wife (Olivia Williams) and other mistresses. The film is based on the real Daisy’s letters and is therefore laced with her narration, and boy, Linney’s never been flatter. Hyde Park meanders, yet its wrap-up is rushed, with a long bit of narration by Daisy that tells everything the film should have shown. (TO)
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