The breezy, entertaining tone of this historical comedy-drama kind of undermines the fact that it centres on one of the most pivotal moments in US-British history. Director Michell (Notting Hill) knows how to keep an audience engaged, and yet he indulges in both tawdry innuendo and silly cliches, never giving the real-life events a proper sense of perspective. Even so, some terrific performances make it enjoyable.
The events in question take place in 1939, when President Franklin D. Roosevelt (Murray) invites Britain's King George VI and Queen Elizabeth (West and Colman) to visit Hyde Park, the upstate New York residence he shares with his mother (Wilson), while his wife Eleanor (Williams) lives down the road with her "she-male" friends. Roosevelt knows that George is here to ask for help against the growing threat of Hitler's Germany, and as a result of their talks a "special relationship" develops between America and Britain. Meanwhile, the womanising Roosevelt is not-so-quietly having an affair with his distant cousin and confidant Daisy (Linney).
Essentially there are two films here fighting for our attention. Much of the story is seen through Daisy's eyes, complete with an annoyingly mousy voiceover that never tells us anything we can't see on screen. Linney underplays the character to the point where we barely notice that she's in the room, and the depiction of Daisy's romance with FDR is often squirm-inducing. By contrast, the other aspect of the plot is fascinating, with West and especially Colman shining in their roles as witty, nervous Brits trying to make the most of the first ever visit of a British monarch to America. Their steely resolve is brilliantly undermined by their brittle nerves and endless curiosity.
Continue reading: Hyde Park On Hudson Review
'Hyde Park On Hudson' is the story of the 32nd President of the United States Franklin Delano Roosevelt and his growing love affair with his soon to be mistress Daisy. In the summer of 1949, Roosevelt decides to invite the reigning monarchs of England King George VI and Queen Elizabeth over to America for their first ever trans-Atlantic trip - incidentally, the first trip to America any English monarch has ever made. The President's friends, colleagues and family rally together to create a fun and interesting weekend for the Royals despite their unfamiliarity with proper royal protocol such as knowing the proper way to address the King and Queen. Nonetheless, the royals remain polite and do their best to cover up their nervousness and lack of experience of American culture as war with Germany is imminent and they may need someone to turn to.
This partially biographical and downright comical drama has been told in the shoes of Daisy and takes place only months before World War II broke out. 'Hyde Park on Hudson' has been directed by Roger Michell ('Notting Hill', 'Changing Lanes', 'Morning Glory') and written by Richard Nelson ('Ethan Frome') and is set to hit cinemas from February 1st 2013.
The plot is thin, if not threadbare, presenting the too-oft-seen love triangle. Perhaps the notion of a pair of sisters in love (in their particular ways) with one's husband seemed like an original idea, but it comes off as derivative and tedious. Paul Bettany, who played Chaucer in A Knight's Tale and John Nash's imaginary roommate in A Beautiful Mind, takes on the colorless banker-husband-lover Rickie, the object of the sisters' desires. Stuffy though he may be, we understand why he's prone to stray from his wife, Madeleine (Olivia Williams), a caustic and chilly socialite who criticizes her younger sister with haughty superiority. She seems to think that there's something wrong with Dinah (Helena Bonham Carter) for remaining unmarried and free-spirited when, as we see it, Dinah is the more attractive and sensual of the two.
Continue reading: The Heart Of Me Review
Director Terrence Davies took a chance casting "The X-Files'" Gillian Anderson as the devastated heroine in his adaptation of "The House of Mirth," Edith Wharton's corset opera of turn-of-the-Century social politics.
But in her first 20 seconds on screen -- speaking in deliciously eloquent dialogue and looking stunning in plumed hats with veils, fur collared dresses, brooches and a parasol -- she erases any and all memory of Agent Scully, the TV alter-ego you probably thought would haunt the actress for the rest of her career.
A drawing room drama about the whispered politics and wily business of marriage in New York high society, the film is about a beautiful young socialite whose life becomes hampered with scandal, in part because she can't reconcile her heart with the fact that she must marry well to maintain her station.
Continue reading: The House Of Mirth Review
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