Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Hyde Park on Hudson (2012)

Hyde Park on Hudson
Directed by Roger Michell
Starring: Laura Linney, Bill Murray, Olivia Williams, Olivia Colman, Samuel West, Elizabeth Wilson
Grade: D+ [28]

Loitering somewhere between “The Bridges of Madison County” and “An Education,” yet nowhere near as good as either, Hyde Park is the essence of poor middlebrow filmmaking. Two decades too late, it’s the self-important, voice-over-infested project you’re more likely to see Joan Plowright or Ellen Burstyn starring in these days than poor Laura Linney, and, to my memory, it’s the least Linney has ever impressed. It isn’t an indictment of her so much, given that, of the cast, only Olivia Williams attempts to elevate her first lady-character above besieged-by-the-time twaddle. But that might be because she’s playing the only person who isn’t swept away by the alluded charms of Bill Murray’s President Roosevelt, who’s written to captivate but has precious little on the page to enliven. We’re once again supposed to be amused by King George VI’s awkward demeanour, and the cheap standoff between Anglo-American relations as a brittle opposition of polite decorum and brash self-sufficiency. This isn’t a portrait of history so much as a comment-section cartoon, with cutting satire replaced by pandering bourgeois humour. Those will laugh, those won't; None of us will remember this film in six months’ time, so what does it matter?

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