I have to say i enjoyed this a lot more than i thought i would. The director behind 2006’s The Queen and 2013’s Philomena Stephen Frears brings a delightful, warm and somewhat inspiring tale of a woman who is perhaps misguided by her peers in believing she’s a natural talent. She’s a dreamer who for a while i was wondering whether she herself knew of her to put it delicately, sub par singing ability. she was in fact tone deaf and i wasn’t sure who to feel sorry for, Florence or the people she worked with who spurred her on to sing in grand events at Carnegie Hall.
Meryl Streep for my money is the greatest actress in the world and she proves yet again of her astounding range as a performer. Her high cheekbones gives a Florence a delicate demeanour but her spirit is to be admired nonetheless, her drive is quite infectious. At some point a character says, People may say she couldn’t sing, but no one could say they she didn’t sing. Regardless I didn’t want her to stop because for better or for worse she was downright entertaining, the movie is pretty hilarious at times, almost to the point of hurting my sides. The movie has a light-hearted, somewhat farcical tone that manages to balance it’s poignant and tender moments that moved me, being the wuss that i am i was almost moved to tears at one point. Especially because of the affection Streep’s Florence and Hugh Grant’s St Clair Bayfield had for one another.
Hugh Grant turns in what some are calling a career best performance as the devout husband and manager of Florence. I havent seen a lot of Hugh Grants filmography as much of it is romantic comedies and not a lot of them had much credibility to me, although Notting Hill and Four Weddings and A Funeral are somewhat landmarks in the genre. I thought he was really in his element as the aristocratic silver fox who has an affair with Rebecca Ferguson’s Kathleen Weatherley. His love for Florence isn’t to be disputed although for a while i wasn’t sure if he was being that forthcoming with her. They kiss each other on the cheek much of the time which is usually a sign of a breakdown of a marriage.
Simon Helberg from Big Bang Theory is terrific as pianist Cosme Mcmoon who for much of the time looks like he’s about to burst in either excitement or insanity as he’s in disbelief as to why people are encouraging her to continue singing. I felt his amazement with a face that said “what in the world?” when Florence starts singing again. Even i was asking myself how much her conductor got paid to say to her “you’ve never sounded better”.
The movie churns out words like ‘Chum’, ‘Jiffy’ and ‘Cross’, words i haven’t heard in a long time which was quite pleasant. I especially enjoyed Alexandre Desplats jazzy score which really took me to the films time period of the 1940’s, i saved the soundtrack to my Spotify library in the end and even let the credits roll to the end to listen to it.
This was in fact one of the funniest comedies of the year for me and hopefully one i soon wont forget. I’d certainly recommend it but i doubt i’ll be getting it on Blu ray in the future
87% based on 191 reviews
Rotten Tomatoes reads: Florence Foster Jenkins makes poignant, crowd-pleasing dramedy out of its stranger-than-fiction tale — and does its subject justice with a reliably terrific turn from star Meryl Streep