A curious subject
Florence Foster Jenkins PG, 1hr 50min ★★ 1⁄2Reviewed by Peter Lampp
Meryl Streep must be saturated with film offers, and yet she is obviously not afraid to take on risky, oddball roles.
Maybe after winning three Academy Awards she can afford to branch out.
Such a role is that of Florence Foster Jenkins’, the New York heiress and socialite who in the 1930s and 40s deluded herself that she could sing.
Streep had to have her frame padded to panda size and the portrayal required her to sing like a doberman on heat or a lonesome hyena.
Her singing was of the type reserved for sound-proof bathrooms, but the dippy old dame believed she could be a soprano. Streep, though, will always pull the punters and this was a tough acting role, which she conquered.
Early on it seemed to be a comedy, but then morphed into a serious British drama as an illness was revealed.
The whole film was acted in stage show fashion, notably by Hugh Grant as English husband and actor St Clair Bayfield. The acting almost suggested to me we shouldn’t take it too seriously.
It might be an unusual, extraordinary story but bafflesme why it has had so much oxygen.
Jenkins attracted audiences even though she was devoid of talent and the story obviously attracted film-maker Stephen Frears.
He must have seen something in a delusional old trout who used her inheritance to learn to warble like something out of the deepest Amazon. There is a fine performance from Simon Heiberg as Jenkins’ goofy, young pianist-accompanist Cosme McCoon.