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Hyde Park on the Hudson (2012)

Drama Rated R

A narrative miscalculation torpedoes Hyde Park on the Hudson, which offers a portrait of the presidency of Franklin D. Roosevelt from the perspective of the least interesting person in the room. The heroine here is Margaret Suckley (Laura Linney), a distant cousin of Roosevelt’s whom he calls on one day to share a chat, look at his stamp collection and … perhaps more. (His wife Eleanor, given a vigorous wit by Olivia Williams, certainly wouldn’t object to that sort of development.) And so a romance blooms, with a (far more interesting) visit from England’s King George VI and Queen Elizabeth taking place in the background. Linney’s Suckley is a bore – there’s not a hint of what the two see in each other. In fact, you barely care when she discovers she’s only one of a handful of the president’s playthings and is bullied into becoming a complacent member of his harem. Did I mention Bill Murray plays FDR? The actor erases any trace of his own comically morose persona and gives us a kind old uncle figure. (Hardly a fair trade in my opinion.)