Comedy drama starring Bill Murray and Laura Linney. In June 1939, American president Franklin D Roosevelt (Murray) hosts the British royal family at his country house in upstate New York on their first-ever visit to the United States. King George (Samuel West) and his Queen's Consort Elizabeth (Olivia Colman) are on a diplomatic mission to secure America's support in the fight against Hitler. Meanwhile, against the backdrop of this historically momentous meeting, the ageing but eternally-philandering Roosevelt finds time to seduce another of his house guests, his demure distant cousin Margaret Stuckley (Laura Linney). Olivia Williams co-stars as the long-suffering Eleanor Roosevelt.
Most of the press reviews were less than enthusiastic about this film - a string of 2 and 3 star ratings - so I was not too cheerful when my wife insisted on going - but agreed when she offered to pay for lunch afterwards.
And then I found that I really quite enjoyed it. It does have its faults - the control of pace is a bit erratic, some of the performances are a rather one note, and the screenplay sometimes a little obvious. But there are some lovely performances in it - Sam West as George VI is absolutely excellent. I didn't think I wanted to see one more portrayal of that stammer - but he is superb in this and wholly convincing. As is Olivia Colman in a lovely slightly bitchy performance as his wife.
And Bill Murray is also extremely good as Roosevelt. Possibly a little short of depth - you did not really see the steel underneath although the selfishness was clear - but it is beautifully done.
I haven't quite made up my mind about Laura Linney - a splendid subtle performance, quiet and underplayed, until the raw emotion blasts through towards the end. But I just somehow could not quite believe in her.
The location scenery was also beautiful - maybe a bit too much of it. Tighter editing may have made it a slightly better picture.
But I did enjoy it and thought most of the reviews I read were rather unfair. If there were 3.75 stars that's what I would award but since there aren't - I think it is a four.