Old people having sex is something few of us wish to contemplate. I’m sure this a thoroughly reprehensible attitude but the thought of a 60 year old man being given a hand job in a car is one that would keep many of us up at night, but not in a good way.
Sadly that is what we are subjected to in the film Hyde Park on the Hudson.
Based on a true story of distant cousins affair with FDR in the late thirties, the film proves that Bill Clinton was not the first president to engage in ‘extra-curricular activities during his time as Prez.
If this affair had been fully developed perhaps we might have come round to the idea and left our prejudices behind us. After all Bill Murray and Laura Linney both do a good job in displaying their respective characters in the affair.
However the filmmakers weren’t content with telling one story. Oh no.
They also wanted to tell the story of King George’s visit to FDR’s country retreat Hyde Park (hence the name of the film) in an attempt to get America to enter the Second World War on Britain’s side.
This proved to be by far the better tale, one full of tension and intrigue. Perhaps the existence of the King’s Speech made the filmmakers hesitate to tell another story around the stammer afflicted King but I think they were wrong not to do so. The scene between the King, played by Samuel West and the crippled FDR, played by Bill Murray, is a fascinating imagining of what the relationship might have been like and could have acted as a powerful hook in a more focused film.
I wouldn’t be surprised if the Academy didn’t choose to nominate this for a couple of Oscars less for the quality of the film and more the fact it might be seen as this years period piece.
Personally if I were looking for a story set around a country retreat I’d get a box set of ‘Downton Abbey’ instead. At least the people engaging in acts of rudeness are very pretty.