Strange love

FDR, with his mistress and wife, waits to meet the royal couple.
FDR, with his mistress and wife, waits to meet the royal couple.

Hyde Park on Hudson (12A)

Director: Roger Michell.

Starring: Bill Murray, Laura Linney, Samuel West, Olivia Williams, Elizabeth Marvel and Elizabeth Wilson.

TWO weeks and two different presidents — Hollywood is in danger of becoming obsessed with films about its past chiefs.

This one is based on the true story of Franklin D Roosevelt’s love affair with his cousin, Daisy.

It’s a bitter-sweet tale about how a (literally) poor relation of the president falls heavily for him and how the affair develops over the course of time.

Bill Murray seems to fit well in his new role as dramatic actor.

Time has certainly past since he was one of Hollywood’s biggest comedy actors with titles to his credit including Scrooged, Ghostbusters, Groundhog Day and What About Bob?

But Murray brings a definite gravitas to the role of a man, crippled by polio, who reaches the highest office in his country — but is painfully aware of his physical limitations.

It would be nice to see the actor embrace more of these sober roles, he does them so well.

That’s not to say Hyde Park on Hudson is entirely po faced.

Light-hearted relief comes from an unlikely source — a visit by King George and Queen Elizabeth, who are hoping to glean the USA’s support as the drums of war sound over Europe.

George is affable enough as the recently-appointed monarch who despairs at his stutter, while Elizabeth (the Queen Mother) provides the laughs as his oh-so straight-laced wife who baulks at the thought of eating something called hot dogs.

Samuel West is good as the newbie King, trying to find his feet, and Olivia Coleman settles well into the role of Queen.

Indeed, you would think someone had slapped her when Eleanor Roosevelt asks if she can call her Elizabeth.

But the acting honours go to Murray’s FDR and Laura Linney as the dowdy cousin who falls in love with him.

Rating: 4/5