Published with Starskify – 19th May 2016
Not shy from life on the stage, Florence Foster Jenkins (Meryl Streep) becomes inspired to pursue the desire of urging her performances further through the exhilaration of opera singing. Always graced with a passion for music and along with her devoted husband St Clair (Hugh Grant) and accompanying pianist Cosmé McMoon (Simon Helberg), nothing will stand between her and her dream, not even her unpleasant singing talents.
Firstly, the sight of Meryl Streep in an angel costume, floating to the floor during a staged piano rendition may just be one of the finest introductions to a movie seen in a long time. Her portrayal of the persistent protagonist is such a driven and compelling performance, with a tenacious attitude to achieving her life-long dreams. It’s this entrancing display that really drives the story and progression through the true-life documentation. She glides around the stage, with a giddy thrill, despite her lacking of singing talents, purely wanting to provide some entertainment for the soldiers that fought for her country, and to return the favour through the wonder of music.
The depiction of Florence herself, which is also covered in the recent feature Marguerite (2015), is a truly interesting and touching tale. The audience may laugh along with her evident misfortune, yet when truths are revealed, emotions become more of a prominent influence. It’s an uplifting sight to witness those who love her most supporting her through all her endeavours, despite every costly misfortune. Once the initial comedic shock from her singing is established, a deeper understanding can reveal a much more serious and admirable significance to her ambition.
Deemed as a terrifically awful vocalist, the contradictory casting of Meryl Streep in this role may appear humorous in itself. Previously witnessing Streep in glorious vocal performances, watching her accomplish a contrasting persona is a triumph. While on the subject of divergent casting, Simon Helberg can also be mentioned. The Big Bang Theory star may not be easy to take seriously outside his awkwardly geeky Howard Wolowitz persona, yet his portrayal of the young aspiring pianist is an accomplished characterisation.
Hugh Grant depicts the seemingly devoted partner and companion of our protagonist, a fetching and gentlemanly shield, protecting Florence from the disapproving world. The loyalty that both these men share for the starlet is so admirable and dear, the audience is emotionally clasped to the trio as they go about making her dream a reality, despite what others may first perceive. Essentially, it is a happy life that he has created around her, a protective bubble that no one wises to disturb. Even with a secret mistress back home, St Clair can in no way be hindered for his high spirit for what his wife desires.
Overall, a glowing cast depict a tender and genuine vision of the true tale, thrusting the eccentric character into the spotlight for audiences. Wonderfully executed, demonstrating a beautiful rendition of an influential and committed individual that may not have been viewed quite like this before, with appealing aesthetics and gorgeous wardrobes that reflect the wonder of the characters personalities