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
In the movie, there was an implied age difference of quite a few years between St. Clair and Florence. In fact, she was only 7 years his senior. They met when he was 35 and she was 42. St. Clair was 69 when the movie took place. 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 »
Mr. Bayfield, I am a serious pianist. I have ambition. I...
St Clair Bayfield:
Oh, you think that I didn't have ambition? I was a good actor. But I was never going to be a great actor. It was very very hard to admit that to myself. But once I had, I felt free from the tyranny of ambition. I started to live. Is ours not a happy world, Cosmé? do we not have fun?
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Surely only those with some knowledge of musical history and consequently at least some love of music, or perhaps a penchant for eccentricity like myself, will ever have heard of Florence Foster Jenkins, reputedly the world's worst singer, so without a ready-made audience why a biopic now, (two, if you count the new French film "Marguerite")? Maybe someone somewhere saw in this tale of a deluded grande dame a star vehicle for a talented actress of a certain age as well as an audience-pleasing combination of comedy and pathos and that's exactly what you get. No real knowledge of the subject is necessary to enjoy Stephen Frears' hugely enjoyable biopic "Florence Foster Jenkins" which combines comedy, pathos and a close to career best performance from Meryl Streep, (who else), to terrific effect and if you think Streep can play anything, in her sleep if necessary, pause a moment. On a technical level she may be the most versatile actress in the world but much too often she's been accused of failing to connect on an emotional level. I've always felt her Margaret Thatcher a great piece of mimicry but hardly worthy of a third Oscar and there are those who will claim that her Florence Foster Jenkins is nothing more than a shameless ploy for that elusive fourth Oscar. I will simply say that if she is to win that fourth Oscar surely it has to be for this great performance. Streep clicks on every level; this a tragic-comic performance of the first water in which Meryl never puts a foot wrong and yes, technically it's a marvel too with Streep doing her own appallingly off-key singing, (no mean feat for an actress with a superb voice). This isn't just the best thing she's done since "Doubt" but one of the best things she's ever done.
Amazingly it isn't all a one-woman show; the big revelation here is Hugh Grant as Jenkins' husband, the man who loves her, you might say exploits her, and does his best to protect her. It's the least Hugh Grant-like performance of his career and he's never been better. Likewise "The Big Bang Theory's" Simon Helberg as Cosme McMoon, Jenkins' accompanist, is outstanding in a difficult role. It's also beautifully written by Nicholas Martin, looks great, (the period detail is spot on), and is very well directed by Frears. As we head into the silly season of superhero blockbusters and the kind of of films designed to keep the kids quiet in the summer months this splendid biography may be the last good movie we will see at our multiplexes for months.
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