Hyde Park On Hudson

December 7, 2012

Rather than give in to Ghostbusters 3 temptation, Bill Murray opted for the statelier, far more dignified role of playing Franklin Delano Roosevelt, America's most prankish, dryly hilarious president—as evident in that time he said, "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself" right before tossing a snake at someone. But it's a far gentler, differently subdued Bill Murray than we're used to seeing in this preview for Hyde Park On Hudson, with Murray beaming a fatherly warmth that matches the general pleasantness of director Roger Michell's weekend in the country—a weekend that just so happens to have great historical importance behind all of its mannered romantic comedy.

Here Murray all but ignores wife Eleanor (paying far less attention to Olivia Williams than he did in Rushmore) in favor of doting on his cousin Daisy (Laura Linney), a semi-incestuous affair that's just one of several uncouthly American shocks awaiting the visiting King and Queen of England. Linney's overbearing narration and the featherweight laughs that come from seeing royalty presented with hot dogs aside, the charm of Hyde Park is clearly in seeing Murray lose himself in FDR, a role that seems likely to stir up talk of his getting that long-overdue Oscar. It might also make you kind of want one of those cigarette holders.