Nar­ra­tor fails to win over au­di­ence


Austin American-Statesman - - AUSTIN360 DAILY - Con­tin­ued from D ni­cola Cove / MCCLATCHY Rat­ing: R for brief sex­u­al­ity, adult themes. Run­ning time: 1 hour, 34 min­utes. The­ater: Ar­bor. Con­tact Matthew Odam at 912-5986. Twit­ter: @odam

She is whisked away from her mod­est life car­ing for her aunt to keep Roo­sevelt happy, a job that in­cludes in­dulging him in his stamp col­lec­tion and giv­ing him some mea­sure of sex­ual com­fort.

The two form an al­most in­stant bond, with a ner­vous Daisy fall­ing vic­tim to the pres­i­dent’s easy charm and invit­ing man­ner. They es­cape from the crowded house with long drives through Mal­ick-es­que fields and even­tu­ally suc­cumb to their lust in a lushly shot — and ex­tremely awk­ward — bit of sex­u­al­ity.

Although the first act is de­voted to this re­la­tion­ship of blurred lines, we never learn much about Daisy.

The script of­fers lit­tle room for Lin­ney to flesh out her char­ac­ter, which is odd con­sid­er­ing Daisy serves as the nar­ra­tor, a per­son who fails to make a con­nec­tion with the au­di­ence.

The re­la­tion­ship be­tween the pres­i­dent and King Ge­orge VI, the first Bri­tish king to visit Amer­ica, has much more vi­tal­ity and pur­pose. A ner­vous King Ge­orge — the main sub­ject of 2010’s “The King’s Speech” — ar­rives, hop­ing to gen­tly make the case for U.S. in­volve- ment in the pend­ing war against Ger­many.

De­spite the reser­va­tions of a slightly per­turbed and haughty wife (a strong per­for­mance from Olivia Col­man), the king reaches out to Roo­sevelt, who wel­comes the king with cock­tails and an avun­cu­lar warmth.

Dur­ing a long night of drinks, the pres­i­dent en­cour­ages the young king and girds his con­fi­dence with a heart­felt ap­praisal of the king’s abil­i­ties.

While the Roo­seveltDaisy re­la­tion­ship lacks ap­peal, the king and queen’s bond has a charm pep­pered with real­is­tic ban­ter and mild an­tag­o­nism.

The screen­play finds its foot­ing as it ex­am­ines the queen’s class and cul­tural con­cerns as vis­it­ing roy­alty (forced to eat hot dogs) and re­veals a king try­ing des­per­ately to find his voice.

Mur­ray dis­ap­pears into his role as FDR, blend­ing lothario charm with pro­fes­so­rial cool.

Whether grap­pling with the edge of a desk to move unas­sisted from his wheel­chair or go­ing limp to be car­ried by as­sis­tants, Mur­ray gives a sense of au­then­tic­ity to the pres­i­dent’s phys­i­cal lim­i­ta­tions with­out be­ing dis­tract­ing.

De­spite Mur­ray’s best ef­forts, Roo­sevelt here just feels like a cod­dled, pas­sive-ag­gres­sive ma­nip­u­la­tor of women who gets away with as much as the peo­ple around him will al­low.

And be­cause he is the pres­i­dent, that means he gets what­ever he wants. Good news for the pres­i­dent, but it doesn’t make for a very en­gag­ing por­trait of a man or a leader.

Contributed by para­mount pic­tures

PG for­dra­matic im­ages, mild sen­su­al­ity. 1 hour, 28 min­utes. Cine­markTin­sel­town 17,Tin­sel­town Pflugerville, Re­gal Gate­way.

Erica Linz plays Mia and Benedikt Ne­gro plays Le Vieux in “Cirque de Soleil: Worlds Away.”

News ser­vice

Eleanor (Olivia Wil­liams, left) and Daisy (Laura Lin­ney, cen­ter) are just two of the women ma­nip­u­lated by FDR (Bill Mur­ray) in “Hyde Park On Hud­son”.

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