Florence Foster Jenkins, an heiress from 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 Florence Foster Jenkins' performance at Carnegie Hall becomes a truly historic event.Written by
The Carnergie Hall scene was shot in the Hammersmith Apollo, with about 300 extras. See more »
The table radio in the apartment that St. Clair shares with Kathleen is a Philco model 50-922, which was introduced in late autumn, 1949 for the 1950 model year. The last radios available for sale after the Pearl Harbor attacks were introduced in the spring of 1942. Also, Kathleen turns the radio on with the right knob. On most USA-manufactured, vacuum tube table radios with two knobs (including this model), the right knob is the station selector and the left knob is used for a combination on/off switch and volume control assembly. See more »
St Clair Bayfield:
If you can forgive Madam Florence her little eccentricities, you'll find her to be a most generous and delightful person. Ours is a very happy world.
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A kind of 'companion piece' to THE KING'S SPEECH. After the monarch who couldn't speak publicly we are invited to meet the soprano who should never have sung to an audience. This is the more-or-less true story of the 1940s New York socialite who seemingly did not know how monumentally awful her singing was. Florence Foster Jenkins was a Woman of Substance in more than one sense: a mega-rich heiress, built like a leaking sandbag and possessed of an immense ego.
It's a gift of a part, and Meryl Streep goes for it at full throttle, combining elements of Ethel Merman, Hyacinth Bucket and Nellie Melba to stupendous effect. The supporting cast are also given juicy roles to wallow in and, boy, do they wallow! Hugh Grant's lightweight shtick works perfectly for Florence's second husband, who openly keeps a mistress but dotes like a puppy-dog on his ailing wife, indulging her musical delusion with a passion that fully matches her own. David Haig plays Florence's vocal coach in the manner of a pantomime horse.
Simon Helberg steals many a scene as her gay accompanist who finds it hard to keep a straight face but comes to be caught up in the typhoon of Florence's enormous self-belief. There are some delicious cameos among the members of the New York elite who support the fantasy with varying degrees of sincerity. The finale, Florence's sell-out concert at Carnegie Hall is a comedic if not exactly a musical triumph.
This is a slight story, crisply scripted, elegantly photographed and stylishly directed (by Stephen Frears). Streep steams through it like an ocean liner – there's more than a hint of Queen Mary the 'former first lady' as well as Queen Mary the excessively luxurious vessel. Yet another Oscar could easily come her way. In Dustin Hoffman's QUARTET I felt slightly cheated that the principals never actually sang. Here you look forward with a kind of awed dread to the moments when the fat lady sings!
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