In the forests of the Pacific Northwest, a father devoted to raising his six kids with a rigorous physical and intellectual education is forced to leave his paradise and enter the world, challenging his idea of what it means to be a parent.
The story of Richard and Mildred Loving, an interracial couple, whose challenge of their anti-miscegenation arrest for their marriage in Virginia led to a legal battle that would end at the US Supreme Court.
An elderly Margaret Thatcher talks to the imagined presence of her recently deceased husband as she struggles to come to terms with his death while scenes from her past life, from girlhood to British prime minister, intervene.
Richard E. Grant
Florence Foster Jenkins, an heiress form NYC always wanted to be a concert pianist and play Carnegie Hall. An injury in her youth deterred that dream. So she sets out to sing her way to Carnegie Hall knowing the only way to get there would be "Practice Practice Practice". Her husband supports her venture and the true story of Florence Foster Jenkins playing Carnegie Hall becomes a truly historic event. Written by
Captivating biopic about "the worst singer of all time"
Florence Foster Jenkins, to put it mildly, was a notoriously inept singer, often screeching her way through songs (a prime example being Queen of the Night's "Der Halle Rache") with no ear for intonation, tone, meaning of song/text or rhythm.
It must not have been easy making Foster Jenkins somebody interesting or relatable, but 'Florence Foster Jenkins' manages to do so brilliantly. 'Florence Foster Jenkins' also does a much better job than most biopics to sticking close to the facts, having regard for historical accuracy, not leaving things rose-tinted and not having characters that are basically come and go vignettes.
Admittedly, some characters are more developed and interesting than others and some have little screen time. However, this didn't come over as a huge problem in 'Florence Foster Jenkins' because everything else was so successful. The 40s period detail is evocative, sumptuous and extremely beautiful to look at, and the film is exquisitely photographed and tightly edited.
The music is magnificent, with a score from Alexandre Desplat that fits superbly and sounds great on its own, Desplat's distinctively hypnotic style immediately recognisable. Also striking was how 'Florence Foster Jenkins' combined humour and pathos, it does so perfectly and both elements are brilliantly executed. The comedy is genuinely hilarious and the pathos masterfully moving. The direction does really well in making a potentially dull story dramatically engaging, warm and uplifting, one also admires Foster Jenkins' determination.
Best of all is the acting. Meryl Streep's performance in the title role is a triumph, making her a compellingly real character and succeeds in intentionally singing badly despite that in real life Streep is a far better singer (almost anybody is, well apart from the TV talent show rejects). Hugh Grant's performance here is one of his best, perhaps his best since 'About a Boy' and he has rarely been more nuanced or sympathetic in a role very much removed from his usual romantic-comedy roles. Simon Helberg's supporting turn is spot-on, instead of being annoying or too effeminate Helberg is hilarious, suitably camp and loyal.
Rebecca Ferguson similarly excels, David Haig relishes his deliciously shady and not too pantomimic role and Nina Arianda brings charm to a potentially shallow and irritating character. These roles are difficult to pull off but they are pulled off quite adeptly.
In summary, entirely captivating. 10/10 Bethany Cox
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