This week’s rental was the comedy-drama biopic of Florence Foster Jenkins by acclaimed directed Stephen Frears, from a script by Nicholas Martin.
The story follows Florence (Meryl Streep) a New York heiress & socialite who founded the Verdi club to celebrate a love for Opera & Music.
She is married to St. Clair Bayfield (Hugh Grant), an English Shakespearean actor, who is also her manager. Yet the two live separate lives, with Bayfield living with his secret mistress Kathleen (Rebecca Ferguson).
We learn that this is because Florence contracted long-term Syphilis from her first husband, this has caused her many health problems so she remains sexually abstinent, this we assume therefore is why Bayfield has taken up a mistress.
Florence decides she has been neglected her singing lessons and resumes them with her vocal coach, Carlo Edwards (David Haig) assistance conductor for the Metropolitan Opera. She has also hired a pianist Cosme McMoon (Simon Helberg) who is thrilled when he gets offered a great wage.
Cosme soon finds out that the wage is also to buy his silence as we soon hear that Florence is a terrible singer. Both Edwards and Bayfield are quick to tell Cosme never to let her know.
Florence wants to put on a recital of her singing at the Verdi club, which Bayfield agrees to by hand selecting the audience and paying off the press. With that audience all telling Florence she is a great singer, she goes to a recording studio to put her music onto vinyl for her friends.
By chance, one of these vinyl copies is found and Florence is played on the radio, to the shock of all, especially Bayfield. The song is enjoyed by many listeners, unbeknown to Florence, this is more for the comedy aspect of the dreadful singing rather than her great singing as she believes to be the case.
So much so, she puts on a show at the Carnegie Hall and gives over 1000 tickets free to the US soldiers.
In addition, the editor from the New York Post has obtained a ticket, after being denied by Bayfield many times. This, of course, being due to the fact that if he was to hear Jenkins he would clearly post a negative review.
To make matters worse, Edwards has refused to be associated with the show, so it is down to Cosme to decide if he is to help fulfill Florence dream of singing at the hall or hide, in fear of damaging his future reputation.
The film leads up to this event, and we will let you see what happens at the concert as this is a great British film that is both enjoyable and an easy watch.
All the main 3 performances of Streep; Grant and Helberg are exceptional (however we personally felt that Streep’s although good, was not worthy of the Oscar nomination she received)
The story does feel a good one to tell, as we see various terrible singing acts now make a career from talent shows, yet we do feel the film did feel rushed at times, as we are sure there is more to know about Jenkins.
This feels like she did small events at the Verdi club and then one big one. Ferguson is also under-used as the mistress role but these are minor quibbles to an enjoyable watch.
You can find the film at Amazon here:
You can watch the trailer here:
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