Director Stephen Frears’ Florence Foster Jenkins is a well-made and very well-acted, but sad story that was a bit cringe-creating, as well.
Florence was married at age 18 and got syphilis from her husband on their wedding night. On his and his father’s deaths, she inherited a fortune and went on to become a patroness of the musical arts and society icon.
She fancied herself a singer and, whether tone deaf as a result of her disease or just not caring, performed operatic songs in public. Her second husband fostered her whims and dreams even when, in her mid-70s, she decided she wanted to perform in Carnegie Hall.
While she achieved her goals, her audiences primarily thought her performing was a comedic mockery of opera because her voice was so bad. (In a sense, she was like the Trump of her day.)
Meryl Streep, who has a great voice, had to sing badly in this role and Hugh Grant does a great job of being the solicitous husband.
However, I couldn’t help wondering why this film was made and, if it weren’t for the secondary performers such as Rebecca Ferguson as the husband’s lover, Nina Arianda as the unruly wife of a man paid to watch Florence’s performances and, most notably,
Simon Helberg as Florence’s pianist, the film would have been a flat bore.
As it is, I give Florence Foster Jenkins a 3.6 out of 5.