Narrator fails to win over audience
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.
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.”
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”.