October 31, 2012

Hyde Park on Hudson - Alice Tulley Hall

Mike: The New York Film Festival is going on right now, and as usual, we're pretty much sitting it out. For a few reasons - not much to see, prices are too high, and tickets for the stuff we do want to see are gone before they go on sale to the general public. The first screening of Hyde Park on Hudson was sold out, until I happened to notice that new tickets went on sale later on. At $25.50 that was a bit steep, but whatever. The movie was just okay but I'm glad we went because we met Sting and Wallace Shawn at the end (they were waiting to get into the next screening).

So Bill Murray as FDR. It pains me to say it, but it doesn't really work. At times he's convincing, but at other times he seems incredibly miscast. It's a decent performance, and despite its Oscar double whammy (historical figure AND handicap) I doubt we'll see Murray competing for the gold in January. Murray is a brilliant actor but he has a certain style. And while he's someone with incredible range, the role of FDR is a bit outside of it.
Equally miscast is Laura Linney, who is in her forties and here plays a character in her forties... but who somehow behaves like a teenager. It added to the overall inconsistency of this film. Way more impressive and delightful were Olivia Williams as Eleanor Roosevelt, and Samuel West and Olivia Colman as King George VI and Queen Elizabeth. In fact, the storyline involving the British visitors was way more interesting than the plotline involving the Murray-Linney relationship.
But it's not at all terrible. The film takes full advantage of its beautiful setting. And while Murray and Linney don't deliver their best performances, they're sufficient. And that's basically what Hyde Park on Hudson is - sufficient, but not the greatness I had hoped for.

Erica: I agree that Bill Murray has had better performances. I think this movie will get overlooked by the Academy in January for Daniel Day Lewis' portrayal of Lincoln, but only time will tell. This movie was ok. The acting was fine, not great and Murray as FDR is definitely not believable (I have thought that since I saw the first trailer). We did get to see it a few months early (despite paying $25 per ticket) so I guess there is an advantage there. Meaning, it is one less movie we need to see on an already overcrowded plate of Oscar hopefuls come December/January. The highlight of the screening was meeting Sting (you can't say that everyday). I have to agree with Mike that the British royals storyline was WAY more interesting than FDR's and the best part of the movie is the picnic between the president's family and the royal family. That was very entertaining but the rest of the movie was a typical historical movie and some parts felt like it dragged a bit too long. 

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