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Movie Breakdown: Florence Foster Jenkins

August 10, 2016

Film

Pre-Screening Stance:

It’s been a while since I’ve cared about Hugh Grant, but Meryl Streep is Meryl Streep and the actual story of Florence Foster Jenkins is one that’s fairly interesting.  Also, Stephen Frears (The Queen, Philomena) is a more than capable director.  Could be good.

Post-Screening Ramble:

Florence Foster Jenkins is based on the true story of … Florence Foster Jenkins (played wonderfully, of course, by Meryl Streep), a music-loving socialite who garnered New York City’s attention in the 40s with a record that was truly awful.  That’s right, awful, because she couldn’t sing at all.  Making things even more interesting is that she didn’t know she couldn’t sing.  Apparently that’s what happens when you have a lot of money and happen to be surrounded by people who respect your bankroll and shelter you from the truth.  What a life!  Anyhow, it’s a legit neat story, but I have to say that the film itself is alright at best.  Not only is its run time too long, but it feels too long.  The film also has a wonky tone.  It largely plays like a big joke, as though director Stephen Frears’ main goal was to deliver a sort of “can you believe this happened?” experience and then have the world cackle, but he greets every laugh with a you-shouldn’t-be-laughing-at-this hammer to the face, and it’s so jarring that about midway through the movie I gave up on trying to figure out whether I should feel amused by and/or sorry for Jenkins.  That’s no good.

My advice to you is to skip Florence Foster Jenkins.  If you really want to see it though, at least wait until its available to watch from the comfort of your couch.

One Last Thought:

Meryl Streep should pull a Helen Mirren (RED, RED 2, Fast And Furious 8) and star in an action flick or raunchy rom-com or something.  It would be really fun to see her let loose and just have a blast with a role that’s totally out of her wheelhouse.

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