The most impressive part/performance of “Florence Foster Jenkins” is by Simon Helberg. Name doesn’t ring a bell? Picture in the poster and trailer look familiar but you can’t quite put your finger on who he is? How about if I said he plays Howard Holowitz in “The Big Bang Theory”? He really does a tremendous acting job, mainly with his face, in this film including a scene where he is on a crowded elevator trying not to laugh hysterically out loud–priceless–but not the only scene he is so impressive in.

Next impressive, and one of the best roles he has had in a long time, is Hugh Grant as St. Clair Bayfield, Florence’s husband but not married to her or ever having sex with her for 25 years. Florence pays for the rent on an apartment he keeps his girlfriend and where he basically lives. He is part of a conspiracy to keep Florence Foster Jenkins protecting her from the laughter of people for her horrible singing voice which she thinks is a voice of beauty. He provides her with stages of private concerts where only friends, people who won’t laugh at her or humiliate her as bad as she is. Along with her screeching, grating voice she overdresses in feathers, jewels, wings, tiaras and has no stage presence. When we meet her she has been getting away with this life for so long and believes so much in her own talent she decides to give a concert at Carnegie Hall.

Who to call on for a performance of Florence Foster Jenkins? No one but MerlyStreep who we know can sing, never seems to overdress in her public life, has a solid married family life and certainly is admired as an actress. Jenkins life really wasn’t an easy one starting with having to end a promising career as a concert pianist until she suffered an arm injury and couldn’t play with her left hand anymore. The fact that she got syphilis on her honeymoon night from her first husband and which may have caused the deterioration¬†of her voice is briefly mentioned though there is no bridge from her leaving him to getting together with St. Clair except for a brief sentence. At one point her fatherdisinherited her until his death and them she had the money to fund her own club acquiring her followers with her love for Verdi.

I was sort of uncomfortable with the audience in the movie house laughing at this woman instead of feeling pity for what she and the people around her were putting her through. I cringed as she was allowed to put herself in positions to be laughed at by both audiences. Is it Streep’s failure? Director Stephen Frear and/or screenplay writer Nicholas Martin failure? The latter two set us up to laugh at Streep’s character and she doesn’t do anything to stop it. Simon Helberg makes you feel more for Jenkins than Streep does.

Nina Arianda, a flashy, platinum ‘dumb’ blonde type, as Agnes Stark, shows more empathy, sympathy and feeling for Florence than anyone else in the film does and Rebecca Ferguson as Grant’s other woman accepts him for who he is but doesn’t understand his relationship with Florence as neither did I.

It wouldn’t surprise me if Streep gets another Oscar nomination as it seems to be part of the result of her starring in any movie but if anyone deserves a nomination for “Florence Foster Jenkins” it is Simon Helberg as Best Supporting Actor. Also it is good to see Hugh Grant back in a movie that shows his multitalents including dancing a wild Lindy dance!

Movie Trailer


Posted August 12, 2016 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, MOVIE REVIEW, MOVIES, Uncategorized


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  1. After seeing ‘Margeurite’The French adaptation with Catherine Frot, Ireally couldn’t bring myself to watch Meryl Streep and Hugh Grant because I found the French experience too enchanting even if it was terribly sad….Nonetheless, I enjoyed your read and as always trust your opinion.

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