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Review Roundup: Bill Murray Deserves Better than 'Hyde Park on Hudson'

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood December 7, 2012 at 1:27PM

Focus Features has done a swell job promoting Joe Wright's "Anna Karenina," but two of their small-scale year-end features aren't getting the kind of response any awards-contender needs, "Promised Land," and "Hyde Park on Hudson." Which leads me to ask what benefit these films get from being scrutinized inside the awards window. Why not give them a chance in a less competitive frame?
Hyde Park on Hudson trailer

AV Club:

"Hyde Park On Hudson depicts Roosevelt as a boozy adulterer, but it nevertheless tilts heavily towards hagiography. Like the women who loved and revered him, the film forgives Roosevelt’s transgressions all too easily when it would be better off holding him accountable for the complicated, sometimes painful consequences of his actions."


But the film would remain just a bonbon or a mildly diverting lark were it not for its moving central section,..A revelatory exchange between men of comparable global stature but glaringly different experience and character, the whole episode is beautifully written, directed and performed."


An unseemly look at the private life of one of America's most revered commanders-in-chief is framed through the royal visit that cemented the United States' alliance with Britain in "Hyde Park on Hudson." Elevated somewhat by the stunt casting of Bill Murray as FDR, this frequently tacky tell-all amplifies one aspect of "The King's Speech's" appeal -- and serves as an encore of sorts for stuttering King "Bertie" -- by revealing celebrated world leaders to be as insecure and flawed as the rest of us. But Roger Michell's treatment shares none of "King's Speech's" overcoming-adversity triumph.

The Playlist:

Had the picture focused on the Daisy/Franklin relationship with more thought, perhaps 'Hyde Park' would bear more weight. But Michell is clearly more interested in entertaining and pleasing his audience, creating a middle-of-the road dramedy that possesses a few somber notes and the occasional comic tickle, but nothing tremendously effective in either aim.

Esquire's Twitter:

Don't waste your time on Hyde Park on Hudson. Watch these other Bill Murray clips instead. (Link here.)

This article is related to: Reviews, Bill Murray, Hyde Park on Hudson, Laura Linney

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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.