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Florence Foster Jenkins (2016)


6/10: It is a good film, but I think it could have been a great one too
Monday, December 19, 2016

Florence Foster Jenkins" is a British movie that was very recently released to theatres here in Germany and it looks like it could be one of the bigger players this awards season. The movie runs for 110 minutes roughly and was directed by 2-time Academy award nominee Stephen Frears ("The Queen*). While I really loved Frears' previous 2 movies about Philomena and Lance Armstrong I must say that I did not appreciate this one as much. It was still a convincing watch though. The script is by Nicholas Martin, a pretty prolific television writer who has been in the industry for decades, but this one here is probably his most known work so far. Even an Oscar nomination may be in the books for him. I am not sure if this would be really deserved, but I will elaborate on the plot and screenplay later on. We shall see. The title character here is played by Meryl Streep. What...

8/10: Florence Foster Jenkins
Sunday, March 26, 2017

This film saw the leading actress get her record twentieth Oscar nomination, some critics questioned if she stopped another actress getting nominated, including Amy Adams for Arrival, I didn't know it was going to get any big award nominations, it made me more eager to watch it, directed by Stephen Frears (My Beautiful Laundrette, The Queen, Philomena). Based on the true story, set in New York City in 1944, in the midst of World War II, Florence Foster Jenkins (Oscar, BAFTA and Golden Globe nominated Meryl Streep) is an heiress and socialite with a passion for opera and music, to celebrate this love she founded the Verdi Club. Her husband and manager is British Shakespearean actor St. Clair Bayfield (BAFTA and Golden Globe nominated Hugh Grant), despite being married they live in separate residences, Bayfield shares his house with his secret mistress, Kathleen Weatherley (Rebecca Ferguson). Florence suffers from syphilis, her illness has caused her various health problems for...

5/10: Nice Costumes, Shame About The Rip-Off
Friday, May 6, 2016

It would be both foolish and inaccurate to describe Meryl Streep as anything but a fine actress and nor do I begrudge Stephen Frears the right to earn a crust - with only a journeyman talent he needs all the help he can get - but I would probably have enjoyed this film more had I not already seen the superior Marguerite, released in 2015 and already awarded Four Cesars (the French 'Oscar') including Best Actress, Catherine Frot as the eponymous leading lady. Marguerite was a lightly fictionalised version of Florence Foster Jenkins with minimum effort to conceal the fact. Marguerite is based in Paris in the 1920s where Marguerite Dupont is a wealthy society hostess with a delusion that she is a gifted Opera singer and a husband and group of friends who go along with her lack of self-awareness and shield her from the ridicule of the rest of the world until she decides to give a concert at...

8/10: Touching and emotional drama with many laughs
Thursday, May 19, 2016

Florence Foster Jenkins is a wealthy New Yorker who lives for music. Her husband StClair enthusiastically indulges her passion: she sings for the musical appreciation club she has created, and they all love her. The only thing is, well, she's not very good. But she's harmless and kind and tries her very best, so everyone (including her new pianist accompanist, Cosme McMoon) goes along with her. And she doesn't seem to be aware (or worried) about the fact that St Clair spends very night at another apartment with his mistress.Based on a real person, this film tells the story of a woman whose talent so woefully falls short of her ambition that the result is funny, yet she would be mortified if she realised that is what people actually thought. StClair cushions her from the unkindness which would otherwise come her way: this protects her, but also encourages her to push her (lack of) talent further...

6/10: Why don't I like this
Saturday, August 6, 2016

It seems that I should like it more than I do. After all, it's made by Stephen Frears and has a first rate cast who perform well. And on the face of it the film is funny, and at times even touching. So why am I not loving it?I think the first thing that put me off was the tag line on the billboards advertising the film. "Every voice deserves to be heard." Well that's just rubbish. Everyone may have a right to exercise their voice, but that's a very different thing from every voice deserving to be heard. Jenkin's most definitely did not deserve to be heard. So there's a serious problem with the movie's sensibility before I even get to see it.The second problem is that the movie is funny, but mostly for the wrong reasons. We're never invited to laugh with any of the characters. Only at them...

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