The story of Florence Foster Jenkins, a New York heiress, who dreamed of becoming an opera singer, despite having a terrible singing voice.
I can’t make my mind up about Florence Foster Jenkins. Was she the likeable, vulnerable if eccentric character portrayed by Meryl Streep? Or was she the entitled, arrogant woman who was rich enough to surround herself with sycophants and never learned the truth until it killed her?
However, that aside and remembering that this is a film review and not an investigative report, the movie itself is great. Meryl Streep is almost boring these days in her brilliant portrayals of a myriad of characters and FFJ is no exception.
If you’ve never heard of Mrs Jenkins, she was the rich socialite who decided she wanted to be an opera singer even though she couldn’t hold a note and eventually she sang at Carnegie Hall. Since her death in 1944 her recordings have become classics, although for their comedic rather than their musical value.
There are many examples of her songs on the Internet and listening to them I was impressed with Meryl Streep’s accurate (if painful) renditions which must be difficult when you can actually sing.
Hugh Grant gave a charming performance as Florence’s common law husband and the relationship between them was as touching as it was unconventional. The strangely named Cosme McMoon (played by The Big Bang’s Simon Helberg) was her pianist who couldn’t believe his luck at being paid so much and couldn’t believe his ears at the noise he was being asked to accompany.
A warm and funny film but if you’re like me and need to dig deeper after watching any ‘based on a true story’ film I suggest that AFTER you’ve seen it you watch the full length documentary about Mrs Jenkins that can be found on YouTube.