Florence Foster Jenkins Review
PG13: Brief Suggestive Material
Paramount Pictures, Qwerty Films, Pathé, BBC Films
1 hr and 50 Minutes
Cast: Meryl Streep, Hugh Grant, Simon Helberg, with Nina Arianda and Rebecca Ferguson
Florence Foster Jenkins (Meryl Streep), an heiress in New York who owns a music club and lives for music, aspires to become an opera singer with the help of her husband St. Clair Bayfield (Hugh Grant) and her pianist Cosmé McMoon (Simon Helberg), despite her generally poor singing ability.
REVIEW: Once seeing this trailer in the theater, it was clearly one of those films that screamed Oscar bait. All you had to do was show was fancy costuming, a 1940s setting, and most of all Meryl Streep. But then it shows Meryl Streep whose known to be an exquisite singer playing a woman who can’t sing. For some reason that was genius to me, so this had to be a must see to review and wow I’m glad to have seen this film.
THE GOOD: When you think this film would be a biopic, you were wrong. This film, Florence Foster Jenkins is a comedy. This film have numerous scenes of pure hilarity that at first starts from chuckles to full out laughter. But its not one of those comedies as you expect. Its what if one would say a tragic comedy. The majority of this film’s humor is from Florence’s disillusionment. Where she and her husband Bayfield believe Florence is a wonderful and talented singer, everyone around her think they’re in la la land and think this is all a joke especially Cosmé after he’s hired. Because of this, the majority of the vibe of this film works. When the film focuses between Florence, Bayfield, and Cosmé its a fun experience, but when they’re all together the dynamic between them is perfect.
This film has its share of great performances all around. Meryl Streep of course is a delight. It’s hard to not say she is a Best Actress contender for next year’s Academy Awards. Her performance is so tragically amazing that as you’re laughing at her character for the right reasons, you genuinely feel bad for her at the same time. It doesn’t manipulate you at all either to make you feel bad, because there is an explanation and you just go “oh you poor thing.”
Surprisingly, Hugh Grant is amazing. In the films I’ve seen him in in the past, I was never fond of Hugh Grant, but in this he is charming. His entire performance is fueled by his charm and his straight temperament. But what really makes it work is his delivery and interaction he has with his wife Florence. He does have a younger piece on the side that you wouldn’t blame him for having, but you can see how much he loves his wife when it really gets down to it.
Simon Helberg. Yes Howard from The Big Bang Theory. You wouldn’t think a television actor like him would be in a film with legends like Streep and Grant. But not only his performance catches up to speed with the both of them, but has his own special individuality between their performances as well. He has a nervous and shy persona with tics and squeaks in his voice and movement, but he is not only lovable but hilarious every scene he is in. He’s the audience’s avatar that gets caught up in Florence’s voice. His performance isn’t just good, but is outstanding. I loved him so much in this film to a point I will say. I want Simon Helberg to get nominated for Best Supporting Actor. We gave that nomination to Jonah Hill for being comedic yet serious not once but twice. Helberg does exactly the same but does it marginally better.
The movie has the atmosphere of classic cinema. The film takes place in the 1940s New York scene and grabs you in its setting. Fancy costumes, fancy people, and evil press. The main antagonist is the NY Post which has been my personal antagonist for many years mainly for my dislike of one the film critics on there. And so since they have that element into the film, it made me love it on a personal level much more.
THE BAD: The film has a topsy turvy tone. One minute your laughing then next moment you’re sad and it really goes back at forth for the majority of it. Granted it works well in a biopic of this type, but for other general audiences it might throw them off.
LAST STATEMENT: With outstanding performances from its three main leads, Florence Foster Jenkins is a brilliant crowd pleasing biopic with enough drama and humor to entertain and break your heart from beginning to end
Rating: 4.5/5 | 94%
Super Scene: Cosmé’s first day on the job