‘Streep’ throat for deluded singer
Florence Foster Jenkins (PG) Directed by Stephen Frears 1hr 50min ★★ 1⁄ 2
Reviewed by Peter Lampp
Three times Oscar winner Meryl Streep is obviously not afraid to take on risky, oddball roles.
Take the case of Florence Foster Jenkins, the New York heiress and socialite who in the 1930s and 40s deluded herself that she could sing.
Her singing was the sort reserved for sound-proofed bathrooms, but the dippy old dame believed she could be a concert soprano.
Unusual and extraordinary as the story is it still baffles me why it has had so much oxygen. Jenkins, who sang like a doberman on heat or a lonesome hyena, managed to attract audiences despite being devoid of talent. Well, the story obviously attracted film-maker Stephen Frears.
Her frame padded to panda size, the talented Streep gets to play the talentless Jenkins, a tough ask which she conquered in a movie that started out being a comedy before morphing into a serious but stagey Brit drama once health complications are uncovered.
Hugh Grant as Jenkins’ aiding and abetting English hus- band and actor St Clair Bayfield - on the phone to the New York
Post’s showbiz critic castigating him for his slagging, but accurate, review - played it like we shouldn’t take it too seriously.
Bayfield must have seen something in the delusional old trout who used her inheritance to warble like a creature out of the deepest Amazon.
There is a fine performance from Simon Heiberg as Jenkins’ goofy, young pianist-accompanist Cosme McCoon.
I hope Meryl had her throat medically examined after this effort. She has had plenty of singing roles but none as close to yodelling as this.
Meryl Streep as deluded singer Florence Foster Jenkins with Hugh Grant as her aiding and abetting husband, St Clair Bayfield.