‘Hyde Park on Hudson’ reveals true nature of World War I president

Image used under fair use doctrine

Image used under fair use doctrine

Trisha Chaudhary

Image used under fair use doctrine
Image used under fair use doctrine

As soon as I heard that Hyde Park on Hudson is about the presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, my interest peaked. Not only had we recently been learning about FDR’s presidency in U.S. History, I also love movies that delve deeper into the personal lives of presidents. I feel like everyone knows the names of these famous men, yet no one really knows who they were.

So after weeks of anticipation, I finally managed to go see the movie. Hyde Park on Hudson centers on the visit from the King and Queen of the United Kingdom during the start of World War I. In the movie, on a weekend in 1939, the royals visited FDR’s summer home in countryside of upstate New York with the intent of convincing him to aid them in the war.
The movie starts with the blossoming of FDR’s relationship with his very distant cousin, Daisy. Bill Murray (Moonrise Kingdom), who plays FDR, does a great job of embodying the charismatic and jovial man, and Laura Linney (The Truman Show) is equally wonderful at playing Daisy, a middle-aged woman, socially detached from society by the burden of taking care of her elderly aunt, not to mention her complete lack of receiving non-familial affection. In the constant chaos and ruckus in the mansion, it seems that Daisy is the only one able to help FDR take his mind off of things and clear his head. In his words, she brought him back to reality.
As their relationship slowly grows more intimate, Daisy becomes a regular visitor at the summer mansion and has a first-hand experience at the vital weekend visit. Hyde Park on Hudson, for me, uncovered the true nature of FDR: his charisma, his charm, his ability to make anyone comfortable — even the paranoid and anxious King and Queen. It is apparent in the movie that a weekend visit to the president of the United States to ask for war aid is the last thing that the royals would want to be doing, yet somehow, even FDR is able to make them feel welcome.
On top of giving an inside look at British-American negotiations, for me, what Hyde Park on Hudson really does is introduce FDR as a person. It shows him as a person worth more than just his policies, as a man, not simply a government official. Of course, it shows his flaws as well as his fine points. It shows his struggles as well as his achievements and somehow, for me at least, manages to summarize his whole presidency over the main time span of a weekend.
Hyde Park on Hudson is also filled with beautiful locations and cinematography, and even if you’re not looking to learn about the personality and personal life of FDR, you should go see the movie just for the lush lavender hills. Hyde Park on Hudson encompasses all aspects of life — laughter, anger, sadness, infidelity, shame, self-doubt, charisma, etc. — with subtlety, yet still keeps a humorous and light feel. I would definitely recommend it.
By Trisha Chaudhary