Space Ramblings

Hyde Park on Hudson, No, Just No

I know The King’s Speech made a ton of money. I know that Bill Murray harbors the idea that he can “act” in a way that doesn’t involve playing a morose middle-aged man. I know studio executives thought, “What if we did The King’s Speech but made it more American and had Bill Murray as FDR”. I know it because this happened.

Bill Murray worshipers think it’s great. It’s not. It’s stupid.

hyde park on hudson

hyde park on hudson trailer

FDR was not some free spirit who flew by the seat of his own pants. If you want to paint the British royal family as stuffy, fine. But FDR was a blue blood, he was at least as stuffy and stuffier because he was keeping up a pose. FDR and the King meeting each other were two members of their respective ruling classes, the scions of powerful families, hanging out together for publicity photos.

Bill Murray isn’t a bad choice for FDR, because FDR was kind of a bastard. He was Teddy Roosevelt if Teddy had been a manipulative sneak and a cheat with a mean streak a mile wide. Murray could have played that guy easily. But he’s not playing him.

He’s playing FDR as the Australian speech therapist in The King’s Speech. There to teach the king to loosen up and confront the crisis. It’s not just a cynical cash in. It’s a lie that’s as far from FDR’s real personality as possible.

FDR deserves better than to be the King’s speech therapist and Bill Murray deserves better than to play FDR as a goofier version of Geoffrey Rush’s character.

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