Starring Meryl Streep and Hugh Grant

From Director Stephen Frears, the man who has brought to the big screen such classic tales as DANGEROUS LIASONS, THE QUEEN and PHILOMENA, comes a true-life tale of New York socialite, heiress and wanna–be opera singer, whose talent in singing, leaves much to be desired, this is FLORENCE FOSTER JENKINS!

As we meet NY socialite and heiress Florence Foster Jenkins (Meryl Streep), she is living her life amidst the world music in the 1940’s, evoking passion in others as well, as they all learn to enjoy the operatic music of the day.

Lucky for Florence, her husband St. Clair Bayfield (Hugh Grant) also values her love for music, as he fosters her desire to, maybe one day, become an operatic singer herself.

As Florence’s drive to become a highly renowned singer begins to consume every waking minute, St. Clair has no choice but to find his lovely wife an accompanist to assist her in performing, as they soon secure the services of one of New Yorks finest, Cosme McMoon (Simon Helberg).

With Florence working tirelessly to be the Best-that-she-can-be with the assistance of McMoon, and a voice coach too, St. Clair finds other ways to pass the time in her absence, even though his love and commitment to Florence never waivers.

When Florence decides that she is ready to perform, it takes all of St. Clair’s will and determination to produce a show ~ and audience ~ that will appease his wife’s ambitions, and talent, even though her singing is less than desirable, to say the least…

I give FLORENCE FOSTER JENKINS a rating between MUST SEE ON THE BIG SCREEN and WAIT AND CATCH IT ON DVD – Since there is nothing I love more than a fabulous biopic, I was very excited to see Meryl Streep on the big screen, playing the less-than-average singer Florence Foster Jenkins, envisioning that since I don’t particularly care for Streep’s singing, this role should be the perfect fit for her, and it truly was. Streep fits the bill perfectly as the aging Foster-Jenkins, striving for nothing more than perfection and acceptance from her fellow music lovers. Grant is perfection too as Florence’s husband and confidant, as this is some of the best work I have seen from him in many, many years. So why the less than stellar rating? Well, with the era of the 1940’s, I was hoping for the epic splendor of the era to come across and make this film bigger than life, but, instead, it felt rather like nothing more than a made for TV movie. And even with Streep and Grant giving note worthy performances, and BIG BANG THEORY’s Helberg hitting all the right notes too with his performance, I just went away feeling that this film could have been SO MUCH MORE, when it was all said and done. Maybe part of my issue is the fact that even when Streep is supposedly singing well, as how she hears herself singing in this film, it still sounds bad to me. I love Streep’s work, I really do, I just wish that she would move on to making films that show off her fabulous acting talents, and forget about the singing already…PLEASE!!!

Kathy Kaiser