Thursday, December 27, 2012

Roosevelts and Windsors

Tonight my parents and I went to see Hyde Park on Hudson.  Bill Murray is great as President Roosevelt, whose 1939 visit from King George VI and Queen Elizabeth forms the center of this drama based on an FDR mistress's secret diaries, but I was less convinced by the other characters especially Olivia Colman as the Queen who (with the writers) turns her into a shrewish, fussy snob--about as unlike the real, warm, fun-loving Queen Elizabeth as she could have been, even unfavorably comparing her husband in private to his recently abdicated brother, which anyone who knows anything about Queen Elizabeth's post-abdication views of "David" would know she never would have done. The actual Queen Elizabeth tended to view challenges and unfamiliar things (like hot dogs) as an Adventure; that's probably why she lived to be 101. The "Queen Elizabeth" depicted in this movie would have worried herself to death several decades before 2002. Samuel West, though like Colin Firth totally lacking anything resembling the real King's gaunt features, is somewhat more suitable as King George VI, but while the look and feel of the 1930s is captured convincingly this is not a film for those who like royalty depicted with a reasonable degree of accuracy.

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