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Film / Hyde Park on Hudson

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Hyde Park on Hudson is a 2012 film based on the play of the same name, starring Bill Murray as President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Laura Linney as his mistress, Margaret "Daisy" Suckley.

The film is set in the 1930s in the Hudson Valley region where Daisy is called to meet with her distant cousin, Franklin Roosevelt, who prefers to work at his mother's house in the summer, to help him relax from his demanding job. They soon become lovers.

Eventually, the relationship is put to the test in 1939 when Roosevelt receives King George VI of Britain and Queen Elizabeth for a visit on the first ever North American tour for a British monarch. Once there, the underconfident king, whose stammer seems to be acting up after years of speech therapy, has considerable trepidations about getting along with the President and the American oddities and slights that seem to bombard him.

Likewise, Daisy has her own problems when she tries to stay out the way for the auspicious occasion, but an impulsive act leads to a heartbreaking discovery about Roosevelt. Now, Daisy must decide on whether her own concerns matter that much compared to the weighty issues that the President must handle.

Tropes used:

  • Berserk Button: The King does not like to be compared to his brother.
  • The Casanova: FDR.
  • Drinking on Duty: Discussed and arguably done by the President and King late at night.
  • Genteel Interbellum Setting: Towards the end of the period, when everyone knows there will be war in Europe, but it is yet to break out. (It would break out within three months.)
  • Karma Houdini: Roosevelt has at least three mistresses, including Daisy, and his wife, Eleanor is going along with it. Outside an attempted apology by Franklin in the middle of the night to Daisy when she finds out, he faces no repercussions for it.
  • The Mistress: Daisy, who at best is #3 in Roosevelt's collection.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: It's remarkable what a British King eating a picnic hot dog in front of the American press can do to help endear a needed ally for an upcoming war.
  • My Beloved Smother: FDR's mother can be a very demanding woman.
  • Reality Is Unrealistic: Some people were creeped out by the pairing of Bill Murray and Laura Linney and Murray's much older character putting the moves on Linney's. Except this film is based on a true story and Roosevelt was a ladies' man.
  • Reluctant Ruler: The King and Queen both are. Historically accurate, since he was not his father's original heir, and only became king due to his elder brother's abdication.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: The whole purpose of the royal visit is to win America's assistance in World War II for Britain, or at least, Roosevelt's promise of it.
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy: After a long nighttime conversation, King George comes to see President Roosevelt as a better father figure than his own biological one ever was.
  • Very Loosely Based on a True Story : There is no historical evidence that Daisy had an affair with Roosevelt outside of Daisy's own journals. However, she did (at Roosevelt's instruction) destroy letters he wrote her, leaving some room for speculation. And the other women mentioned as Roosevelt's mistresses actually were.