Florence Foster Jenkins

2016 biopic

Rating: 16/20 (Jen: 18/20)

Plot: An eccentric socialite performs opera poorly while her husband tries to keep her from realizing that audiences are ridiculing her.

Worth watching for Meryl Streep's wonderful performance alone, this movie has a great mix of comedy and pathos. Singing well on camera is one thing, but Streep really pulls off something special by imitating the inimitable Jenkins. Hugh Grant, apparently retired, brings his usual graceful charm, and the relationship between the two isn't easy to understand but nevertheless strangely touching. Simon Helberg, an actor who plays a character on the seemingly endless Big Bang Theory, might do a little too much at times here as Jenkins' accompanist, but it's a good character.

I've had a recording of Florence Foster Jenkins for about fifteen years, and I'm only pointing that out to solidify my hipster cred.


cory said...

Like movie musicals, for me Meryl Streep movies start with two strikes. Frankly, I am sick of seeing her get nominated almost every year. This film has a fair amount of charm and likeable characters, and knowing that it is based on real life made it much more interesting (though a bit hard to believe), but as usual, you can see Streep Acting with a capital "A". Long ago, when asked about Streep, Katherine Hepburn described her acting as "click, click, click". I know exactly what she meant. Streep is a master technician in whom I rarely see a character's soul. Wolowitz's constant Gene Wilder impression from "The Producers" is also pretty distracting. What really made the movie work was Grant's performance. His character emotionally grounds the material and makes us see Jenkins through his sympathetic eyes. I'm happy that I saw this, but can't imagine ever caring to see it again. A 15.

Shane said...

I didn't see Gene Wilder in that performance at all until I read your comment, and now I can't unsee it.

Ah, man. I like Meryl Streep! I sort of understand what you're saying though.