Florence Foster Jenkins (2016)


Biography | Comedy | Drama | Music


Stephen Frears




Meryl Streep, Hugh Grant, Simon Helberg, Rebecca Ferguson, Nina Arianda, John Kavanagh, David Haig, Brid Brennan, Stanley Townsend, Allan Corduner, Christian McKay, John Sessions, Pat Starr, Aida Garifullina, Mark Arnold, Nat Luurtsema


The story of Florence Foster Jenkins (Meryl Streep), a New York heiress who dreamed of becoming an opera singer, despite having a terrible singing voice.


If it wasn't for Meryl Streep's acclaimed performance, I would never seen this film. Why? I simply don't find the story of a tone-deaf heiress with the dream of being a singer very interesting. But you know what? It happened the opposite. 

As a matter of fact, I found myself very engaged with "Florence Foster Jenkins", which turned out to be a funny, feel-good and enjoyable dramedy.

I've mentioned the plot already a couple of times so I won't repeat it again. Rather, I'd like to compliment both the director and the writer for taking what could have been a very boring story and turned into something engaging that is both funny and moving.

Director Stephen Frears did a good job balancing the comedy and drama, gracefully alternating hilarious moments - especially those scenes where Florence sings, or when Simon Helberg's Cosmé McMoon tries to keep himself from laughing - to more dramatic ones - when the film focuses on Florence's illness.

However, the film feels a little bit unfocused, and at times it seems like watching not really a biography, still a film about the (double) life of St. Clair Bayfield, Florence's husband. That's my biggest complaint, along with the poor treatment both Arturo Toscanini and Cole Porter got in here.

But let's put aside those flaws, and talk about the film's greatest strength, the performances. Meryl Streep is absolutely charming as Florence Foster Jenkins, as she gives a spectacular performance that is both dramatic and comic. But this isn't a one-woman show, there's also a supporting cast, a very good one, starting from Hugh Grant who gives his best performance in years as Florence's devoted husband, to Simon Helberg who gives a fantastic performance as Cosmé McMoon and shows that he can do big roles as well.

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