At this point, I’m pretty sure Meryl Streep could walk on set, say a few lines (whether they’re from an actual script or not), go home and we’d all still be singing her praises. I really like her of course, but I don’t worship her like a lot of movie fans do. Perhaps I just need to see more of her work! My point anyway is that she’s not one of the actresses I would see absolutely anything for. My first impression of the trailer for Florence Foster Jenkins was a cross between a laugh and a sneer, I think.
Florence Foster Jenkins is the story of a wealthy heiress living in New York who dreams of becoming an opera singer and performing in Carnegie Hall. The catch is that she can’t sing to save her life, but her devoted husband (Hugh Grant) can’t bring himself to tell her the truth, and instead hires a singing coach and pianist (Simon Helberg) to not only coach her, but remind her how wonderful she is.
The real stand out part of the movie is the wonderful performances by all 3 leads, Meryl Streep, Hugh Grant and Simon Helberg. Streep is exactly how you would expect her to be, powerful yet effortless. Her awful singing may be difficult to listen to at times, but I can’t imagine how difficult it must be for someone with amazing singing talent to actually sing badly. I’d experiment to see for myself, but you know, I can’t sing anyway. Hugh Grant is possibly at a higher level than I’ve seen him before, mastering that charm like he always has but with a surprising amount of heart.
However, the show stealer is Helberg. Better known as the awkward and often inappropriate Howard in the Big Bang Theory, this is a completely different role for him, and after watching him, I can’t actually picture anyone else doing that character justice. It’s like that saying ‘It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it’, Helberg shines for his mannerisms more than anything else. His body language and facial expressions bring a lot of the humour this movie has.
As for the rest of the movie...I’m still not convinced. It’s just not the kind of story that normally interests me. The tone shifted about quite harshly in places, so whilst I was laughing at a clever one-liner, something quite moving would happen and I wasn’t really sure how to feel. That’s the only real thing I can fault though, so I’m just not sure why I only liked Florence Foster Jenkins, rather than loved it.
Still, I’m glad I gave it a watch, and I would definitely recommend it to you all. What did you think, if you’ve seen it?