Florence Foster Jenkins: "People May Say I Couldn't Sing, But No One Can Ever Say I Didn't Sing"

Director: Stephen Frears
Writer:     Nicholas Martin
Starring: Meryl Streep
                Hugh Grant
                Simon Helberg
                Rebecca Ferguson
                Nina Arianda
                John Kavanagh
                David Haig
                Stanley Townsend
Rating:    ****

Release Date: Out Now

I heard about this film just weeks before its release, so like many it slipped beneath the radar and didn't necessarily excite me. Sure it stars the queen of cinema, but if so little publicity has gone into it, how good can it be? The answer is very good, better than I expected good. Meryl, as always is on top form; and Hugh Grant appears in a slightly more sophisticated role than films past.

Florence Foster Jenkins (Streep) is a socialite and lover of music and performing. She has always dreamt of becoming a professional opera singer, and one day decides to continue her lessons and become the superstar she longs to be. Her husband St. Clair (Grant) supports her along the way, and hires Cosme McMoon (Helberg) to accompany her on the piano. However, its soon becomes clear that Florence can't sing; and that is the polite way of putting it. Despite that, her husband does all he can to protect from the truth, and helps her achieve her dreams.

Meryl Streep & Hugh Grant
The film is superbly funny, with Streep giving a fantastic performance as tone deaf Jenkins. She nails the off key singing, whilst keeping Jenkins hopeful and lovable. But alongside it being comical, it is an extremely emotional, tender and heartbreaking story of love, hope and loss. The scenes where Florence finally realises that she has no talent, but her original critics help lead a standing ovation anyway are poignant and touching. You see Streep transform from a scared and heartbroken women to a proud and confident lady who is glad to be doing what she dreamt of.

Hugh Grant and Meryl Streep are wonderful together, and compliment one another fantastically. Streep takes you an emotional journey that takes you high in the sky and then rock bottom throughout. Grant plays the inner battle between protecting Florence and telling her truth with subtlety and sophistication. It is clearly take its toll on him, and in the final scenes you can literally see the regret clear from his face as he comforts a woman who was just so happy to be doing what she loved. Some of the film deals with whether her husband was making the right choice, and the way Grant played it showed me that he really did. This, in my opinion, is the performance of Grant's career.

Simon Helberg
Simon Helberg is the light relief in the film, and also the moral compass. He is the only one to talk about what a dreadful singer Florence is, and is initially confused by the choice to cover that up. However, Cosme soon comes around to the idea, and Helberg shows that with a childish quirkiness and innocence.

The film is very luxurious and glamorous looking, and that suits the 1940's setting. Director Stephen Frears has helped the actors to portray this moving and joyous story within the film, and the end product is a highly entertaining and touching tribute to the real life Florence Foster Jenkins, and her inspiring, yet off-key, story. 

 Florence Foster Jenkins - Trailer