Florence Foster Jenkins

Florence Foster Jenkins

In Theatres: 
Aug 12, 2016
Running Time: 
110 minutes

Being good at being bad is a skill not many actors can pull off, but Meryl Streep performs wonderfully as an aspiring off-key opera singer in the titular role in Florence Foster Jenkins. It’s a heartwarming film that balances comedy with drama and encapsulates what it means to be yourself despite what anyone else might say.


Florence Foster Jenkins (Streep) has lived a life a luxury as an heiress in New York and has surrounded herself with people who are often too afraid to tell her the truth. Her latest aspirations are to be an opera singer and with the help of her husband, St. Clair Bayfield (Hugh Grant), she hires pianist Cosmé McMoon (Simon Helberg) to accompany her singing talents. The only problem is that she is a terrible singer, but no one has the heart to tell her otherwise. As her dreams of singing at Carnegie Hall grow, both St. Clair and Cosmé worry that the truth of her singing will be far too damaging for her to take.


Florence is a character you can’t help but fall in love with. There’s this innocence in her steadfast persuit of her passions, regardless of what anybody thinks. The first time you hear Steep sing is ear-piercingly hilarious. You’re almost frozen in shock because there was no previous indication that she was a terrible singer. Like Cosmé, you’re thinking this can’t be real and that it’s all some big joke.


But while Florence’s off-key singing never fails to produce a laugh, there’s also a pure joy to it. She’s having fun and it’s not hurting anyone so what’s the harm in letting her sing? There are some naysayers who believe her playing at Carnegie Hall will ruin the integrity of music, but the film is mostly about her doing what she loves. It’s a wonderfully positive film all around that highlights the best of its cast.


Meryl Streep is without question the backbone of Florence Foster Jenkins, and she does an excellent job bringing the character to life. Her singing is on-key in that she’s hilariously off-key. But it in the fact that she believes wholeheartedly of her talent that her character is truly endearing. You can clearly see she has a love for everyone and everything around her and how nobody wants to do anything to disappoint her. I know I wouldn’t want to. The film also delivers great performances from Hugh Grant and Simon Helberg, who are constantly by Streep’s side yet they never feel like they’re in her shadow. There are moments where the film explores their characters outside of Florence, and we get to see what they’re both like away from her yes-men.


Florence Foster Jenkins is absolutely heartwarming with charming performances from Meryl Streep, Hugh Grant, and Simon Helberg. It’s the feel-good movie of the summer and will inspire you to be the person you’ve always wanted to be, regardless of what others say.

Matt Rodriguez
Review by Matt Rodriguez
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