x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Hyde Park on Hudson juggles history with bedroom politics

Bill Murray proves a sound choice as Franklin D Roosevelt in this British biographical comedy-drama.

Bill Murray as Franklin D Roosevelt in Hyde Park on Hudson. Courtesy Walmark Films
Bill Murray as Franklin D Roosevelt in Hyde Park on Hudson. Courtesy Walmark Films

Hyde Park on Hudson
Director: Roger Michell
Starring: Bill Murray, Laura Linney, Samuel West, Olivia Colman, Olivia Williams

The 1939 meeting of the US President Franklin D Roosevelt and England's King George VI proved crucial in the two nations' so-called special relationship. England badly needed America's support to defeat Hitler.

It's a perfect premise, then, for a period yarn. But Roger Michell's film, which screened at the Dubai International Film Festival, opts to juggle the historic summit with Roosevelt's own politics in the bedroom. There was a mistress to hand, apparently, which provides for some tricky manoeuvring (and melodrama).

Bill Murray proves a sound choice as the president who quietly battled polio. So does Samuel West as the stammering King George VI. The pair's understanding engages far more than the frivolity of FDR's wandering eye, in fact.