Daisy (Laura Linney) lives a quiet life, taking care of her mother. But all that changes when she gets an invitation to visit her cousin, Franklin D. Roosevelt (Bill Murray), President of the United States of America. They hit it off and quickly become friends, and more. But while FDR is hosting the King (Samuel West) and Queen (Olivia Colman) of England, Daisy has to realize that she is not the only woman in FDR’s life.
This film could have been very great, if the writer and/or the director had been a woman. Or at least able to take a female perspective. Unfortunately, the film completely fails in that regard, which destroyed it in its entirety.
We’re obviously meant to believe that a woman will be happy standing in a great man’s shadow and getting a thank you from time to time. Because really, what more could a woman ask for? So what if she has to share him with three other women and a demanding job? She should just be happy with the scraps he gives her. I’m not saying that all relationships have to be monogamous (thought there should be equality, imo) and I’m not saying that there were never any women who made the choice to share a man and to remain in his shadow. But seriously, there should be more motivation to it than just “because he is great.”
And I just resent the implication that a woman should be happy with that. She might make the sacrifice and she might choose to live that way. She might be happy with her choices. But Daisy has in no way gotten the love she deserved because finally the world knows that she was FDR’s lover, too. Bleargh.
For me the problem was that FDR completely took over the film. And I understand the impulse – he was a colorful personality, Bill Murray is really good in the role etc. But they have Daisy telling the story – a story that slips from her grasp and leaves her more than just sidelined, it leaves her outcast. Which makes it extremely awkward.
In the end I just wanted the movie to be about Bertie and Elizabeth. Because Bertie isn’t a complete asshole and their relationship is based on mutual respect. Plus, I enjoyed both Olivia Colman and Samuel West. Or alternatively, the film could have been about Eleanor Roosevelt (Olivia Williams) who deserves all the respect in the world. I guess, I would have been happier with any story that sidelined FDR instead of the women in his life.