Movie Review: Florence Foster Jenkins (2016) *Spoiler Free*
Not only that, she's also choosing interesting characters to play. Her title role of Florence Foster Jenkins is no exception.
Based on a true story, Florence Foster Jenkins gained a reputation as the world's worst opera singer during the second World War - not that she knew it thanks to her doting husband St Clair, played expertly by Hugh Grant.
The story is not unlike that of Eddie the Eagle (which I reviewed previously) in that Florence's determination and love for music drove her to realize her dream of singing at Carnegie Hall in a sold out performance.
Along the way you experience not just the highs and lows of Florence, but also those of St Clair and her pianist, Cosme McMoon (played by Big Bang Theory's Simon Helberg), as they battle to make sure Florence is not exposed to people who cannot appreciate her particularly special talent.
I genuinely enjoyed this film. You get a real sense of all the main character motivations and just enough information to understand how anyone could indulge Florence's dream, despite her lack of a great singing voice.
There's a good sprinkling of humour that occurs naturally from the story, as well as a few moments where you really feel for each main player as they battle on as best they can. Fortunately we aren't exposed to too much of Florence's actual singing performances but you hear enough to know she wasn't even close to being adequate for a local volunteer choir.
If you're a Meryl Streep fan, you've probably seen this already. If you like Hugh Grant, this is one of his best performances where he isn't totally just being Hugh Grant - you really feel for his character in particular. Simon Helberg is also worth going to see in a very understated performance of a guy who you think may just explode with repressed emotions at any moment.
Overall it's a great story told well and I highly recommend it.