Every year we’ve got the typical mom-vehicle starring Meryl Streep that has somehow tied a great director in with the project, last year it was Demme’s Ricki and the Flash and this year we’ve got Stephen Frears’s Florence Foster Jenkins. The thing about these yearly specials is that they’re all mostly bad, except for this year.
So, I decided to invite my mother and grandmother to the movies, of course they wanted to see Streep and Grant in some type of theatrical presentation they’d seen the trailers for on t.v. So, I took them to see Florence Foster Jenkins, the story of the atrocious opera singer that tried to sing no matter how atrocious she actually sounded. Honestly, I was charmed and laughing, the film was quite delightful and though Florence Foster Jenkins is definitely targeted at moms and grandmothers, I laughed a lot. Though I normally associate Frears with more dramatic work like The Queen or Philomena, Frears excels in the comedic period film as he plays with the over-the-top costumes and mannerisms of the past. Concentrating on more physical comedy than anything else, Frears accentuates the ridiculousness of the whole situation by making people literally roll around the floor in laughter or people making literal tubs of potato, adding to the hilarious nature of this overblown discordant opera routine.
As I mentioned before, the film holds two great musical talents at its head with Streep and Grant. Whilst Grant doesn’t really do any theatrical performing and all the purposeful awful singing is left for Streep to do, they both do a great job in their roles. But if anyone steals the show its got to be Simon Helberg as Mr. McMoon, the man behind the piano in everyone of Streep’s mass performances. Though the voice Helberg employs for his character is somewhat annoying at times, everyone of his facial expressions is priceless as the camera switches between Streep’s wretched singing and his terrified reactions towards her voice.
Florence Foster Jenkins is an unexpected summer musical that does what it needed to do justly. It explodes the ridiculousness of its subject and her surroundings and utilizes a great amount of smart physical comedy that goes hand in hand with the film’s story. Everyone in the film gives a good performance and Simon Helberg steals the show, the theatrical production of the film is stupendous as it plays to that overblown period-piece look. Florence Foster Jenkins is a good film that’s definitely better than most of the blockbusters out at the moment.