TIFF Review: Hyde Park on Hudson

Bill Murray as Franklin Delano Roosevelt in Hyde park on the Hudson

Adapted from Richard Nelson’s BBC radio play, Hyde Park on Hudson chronicles the close friendship and extramarital affair between President Franklin Delano Roosevelt (Bill Murray) and his distant cousin, Daisy (Laura Linney). With Europe being quickly engulfed by war, the President welcomes the King and Queen of England (Samuel West and Olivia Colman) to his home in Hyde Park for a weekend visit to discuss possible US support of England in the fight. Daisy’s relationship with the President is put to the test as he struggles to balance his domestic affairs with his international obligations as Commander-in-Chief.

Murray may well get an Oscar nomination for his dead on depiction of Roosevelt — he manages to embody the President’s spirit rather than resorting to a full on impersonation. Both West and Coleman are also a blast to watch as the fish-out-of-water King George and Queen Elizabeth attempting to keep their good humour in the face of a house full of boorish Americans, including a far too casual for royalty Eleanor Roosevelt (“Can I call you Elizabeth?”).

Unfortunately, the rest of the film suffers from the odd choice to tell the story from Daisy’s point of view since she’s by far the most boring and inconsequential character in the film. In fact, she’s not even present for most of the more interesting events that transpire. The true life story of the Roosevelt/Daisy affair may be worth hearing more about, but it doesn’t belong in this film.

Is Hyde Park on Hudson Essential TIFF Viewing?

Only if you want bragging rights to being among the first to make the Bill Murray Oscar nomination call, otherwise wait until the film’s December release.

Hyde Park on Hudson Screening Times

  • Monday, September 10, 2012 at 6:30pm at Roy Thomson Hall
  • Tuesday, September 11, 2012 at 1230pm at the Winter Garden Theatre

More About Hyde Park on Hudson

Hyde Park on Hudson Trailer

Hyde Park on Hudson Production Gallery


Kristal Cooper has been a film buff since the age of two when her parents began sneaking her into the drive-in every weekend. Since then, she's pursued that passion by working for the Toronto International Film Festival and the Canadian Film Centre as well as spending many a happy hour inside Toronto's wonderful theatres (she still mourns the loss of The Uptown). She is a freelance writer specializing in pop culture and feminist issues, and continues to slog away at her day job as a small cog in the giant machinery of the Toronto film community.

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