Florence Foster Jenkins (2016) Review

Verdict: Slightly amusing

Great cast, amusing story, but slightly dull.


Florence Foster Jenkins (Meryl Streep) and her husband, St. Clair (Hugh Grant) are used to hosting theatrical parties. However, Florence soon gets the idea that she would love to sing opera in Carnegie hall, in front of distinguished guests. First, she needs a concert pianist, and after hosting auditions, they find Cosme McMoon (Simon Helberg). McMoon is in for a surprise, when he first hears her sing…terribly. Directed by Stephen Frears.

A rather unique story based on true characters. The cast is fitting, and produces great portrayals, while the mise-en-scene really encaptures the time period. Although it presents itself as a comedy, Florence Foster Jenkins is more sad drama than anything else. I won’t say it is a bad film, but I guess, it just isn’t my cup of tea.

Streep is an unrecognizable character in this movie. She embodies Jenkins so vividly that I thought it was bad acting at one point.But it is the character she portrays – the character is quite annoying. It makes me think that perhaps the real Jenkins had some sort of delusional disorder of some type. It really made me cringe to watch her sing so boldly in front of an audience. Kudos to Streep.

Grant as well did great in his role. I’m not generally a fan of his, but he fit his character well. What surprised me, was Helberg’s performance. I couldn’t be sure if he was indeed the same actor as the one in The Big Bang Theory, as he looked like him, but his persona was vastly different. An unsuspecting side of Wolowitz, I guess he wanted to have a break from that character. His character as McMoon, is, I would say, as important as both Jenkins and St. Clair is in the film. All three had great connection which helped to sell the characters.

The mise-en-scene too, was very well established and helped to create the atmosphere of the 19th century, and early 20th century. The costumes and dress styles are very prominent, and maybe it is the cast themselves, but I was thinking that this was set in Britain. Most likely this was just a thought influenced by Grant being in the film.

While it isn’t a horrible film, I didn’t really like it. The character of Jenkins is quite complicated, and perhaps with more of a backstory, I might have been able to sympathize with her more. Also, I did not realize that this story was biographical at the time that I watched it. I thought it was some random movie that I found on the plane. With more of a backstory to the character of Jenkins, I might have guessed it was based on a true story.

Overall, a well made film with a great cast, but not to my liking.

To sum-up:
PROS: Acting, settings
CONS: Not enough backstory, dull at times

I give this a 7/10.

Have you seen Florence Foster Jenkins? Rate it out of 5 stars above or leave a comment below!


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