Florence Foster Jenkins                review by Drusilla Blakey

Some of the most interesting stories out there are about life itself, so when a movie based on actual events comes out there is always that chance for something special. The latest Florence Foster Jenkins features a great cast including Meryl Streep, Hugh Grant, and Simon Helberg, but does it offer up a performances worth seeing or does it miss all the notes?

Florence Foster Jenkins follows a New York heiress who dreamed of becoming an opera singer, despite having a terrible singing voice. I love movies based on true stories, because it gives the audience an opportunity to not only be entertained, but also to learn something about a certain time period or event in history. Florence Foster Jenkins gives us a great look into American music history of the 1940s. The movie is set during 1944 during World War 2 and Florence is an advocate of the arts and music in New York City.  She uses her money, influence and overwhelming love of singing to keep music and the arts moving forward during a time when everyone is worried about the war. Meryl Streep’s performance in this movie is absolutely amazing! I think we’re all aware that she is actually a very talented singer as most probably saw/heard in ‘Into the Woods’, but in this movie she has to play someone who actually cannot sing.  For those who may not know, this is a very hard thing to do!  To purposely sing off key, when you know you are on the wrong note, is a talent of its own, and she does a wonderful job.  If you stay until then end of the movie, you get to hear a record of the real Florence and it’s amazing that Ms. Streep managed to hit every sour note perfectly!

Another astonishing performance comes from Simon Helberg who most may know from The Big Bang Theory. He plays Florence’s piano accompanist and his performance when he first hears her sing is amazing!  So many emotions play across his face and even throughout the film, his character is fairly soft spoken, so his facial expressions are great; extremely funny!  Throughout the movie, you see him really begin to care about Florence and he helps to support her and her dreams.  The most amazing thing, that I was not aware of, was that he is an awesome pianist!  He is playing some fierce concertos in this movie, and he did it all himself.  Wow! And of course, a never ending favorite of mine, is Mr. Hugh Grant.  He had all but retired from films, but a call from the director and the opportunity to work with Meryl Streep, brought him to this wonderful film.  I think most of us are used to seeing him in romantic comedies, and this story actually gives us the opportunity to see the traits we love, but even more.  He is Florence’s husband, St Clair, and he does absolutely everything to make her happy.  He shows so much depth of emotion in his love for Florence, it’s actually quite emotional and a bit heartbreaking when we get to the end of the film.

 

As the movie ends, Florence says “People may say I couldn’t sing, but people can never say that I didn’t sing.”  Such a wonderful statement about never giving up the pursuit of your dreams! 

In addition to the feature this release will include a variety of special features including deleted scenes, Q & A, and numerous featurettes that take you further behind the music and fun of this story. Hit the stage and get ready to sing your heart out with Florence Foster Jenkins available now on Digital and on Blu-ray and DVD on December 13th from Paramount Home Entertainment.  

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