Florence Foster Jenkins
Even with the incredible cinematic horsepower of Meryl Streep and Hugh Grant and a quirky, based on a true story plot, Florence Foster Jenkins just didn’t grab us.
A quick Google search of the real Florence Foster Jenkins will pretty much tell you all you need to know. Accurately labeled as, “the world’s worst singer,” by music critics, her indomitable spirit, love of music and sizable inheritance allows her to pursue her passion for song in the war torn 1940s. Her husband, St. Clair Bayfield (Grant), is dedicated to her happiness as he tries to insulate her from any criticism at any cost. Their relationship is necessarily chaste (she is syphilitic) and he has a second life with a paramour with Florence’s full knowledge. The dynamics of this pairing just seemed more like a plot-device (yet it is true) and despite the best efforts of the two stars, it just seemed wooden.
However, the surprise of the film for us was Simon Helberg who portrays her piano accompanist, Cosme McMoon. TV watchers will recognize him as Howard Wolowitz from The Big Bang Theory. His transition from a reluctant co-conspirator in this façade to a friend of both Florence and Bayfield is well done by all concerned (and he really plays the piano!)
Florence Foster Jenkins is not a bad film by any means. In fact, knowing Hollywood, we would not be at all surprised if they nominate Ms. Streep for yet another Academy Award for her performance (she does all her own singing . . . both good and bad.) It is certainly an interesting story but it just seemed long to us. Women may disagree so be prepared to defend your opinion. We give it a “C flat” rating.