Movie Review – ‘Florence Foster Jenkins’


“One of this year’s best films!”  “An extraordinary story for your eyes and ears!”

Patrick King, REEL BRIEF



In her best performance in years, Meryl Streep stars as a legendary New York heiress and socialite obsessed with her dream of becoming a great singer.

An electrifying story of love, perseverance and imagination abounds in this true story. This is a compassionate story about endless love and endearing support.  As husband and manager, Hugh Grant’s St. Clair Bayfield character is both protector and tempered watch dog.  His greatest challenge, a 1944 public performance by his beloved Florence in Carnegie Hall, weighs as heavily on his heart and mind as it does moviegoers.

“Florence Foster Jenkins” is a momentous film achievement by Academy Award-nominated Best Director Stephen Frears (for 2006’s “The Queen”).  Most viewers will remember Frears’ well-received 2013 masterpiece “Philomena“, which was nominated for an Oscar in four categories–including Best Picture. Just as Frears’ “Philomena” adeptly balanced the comedic with the dramatic, “Florence Foster Jenkins” perfectly adds the same ingredients in this must-see Date Night endeavor.

The film’s most fascinating take is its ability to starkly illustrate the fine line that coaches, parents, teachers and society must walk regarding feedback to one with lacking skills and killing their dreams. We see this awkward dilemma play out with all the characters, between giving Madam Florence an honest reality check on her singing or continuing to further indulge her to the point of embarrassment and harm.

A charming and delightful love story, “Florence Foster Jenkins” dominates with splendid performances by Streep, Grant and Simon Helberg–whom moviegoers will recognize from television’s “The Big Bang Theory” show.  The 55-year old, nearly ageless Grant exudes his exceptional comedy skills we’ve growth accustomed to since 1994’s “Four Weddings and A Funeral”.  It’s Simon Helberg’s role as pianist Cosme McMoon, however, that steals every scene in this gem.

The odds are very good that this outside-the-box performance by Meryl Streep will land her a record 20th Academy Award nomination. Likewise, “Florence Foster Jenkins” is one of this year’s best films and an extraordinary story for your eyes and ears.

Grade: A

“Florence Foster Jenkins” is rated PG-13 for suggestive material.  Its running time is 1 hour and 50 minutes.

© 2016, Patrick. All rights reserved.

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