Guilty as charged … I will go see a Meryl Streep in any movie; in any role; at any time. Hence my journey to see her latest film which was on a true story of New York City socialite Florence Foster Jenkins; aptly titled "Florence Foster Jenkins".
Set during WWII, she is getting on in life and wears some pretty dowdy clothes to match. She has endless amounts of money and thru the graces of her semi-husband St. Clair Bayfield (played the ever smiling Hugh Grant); she lives in an insulated world where everybody loves her. Yes she has a kind and genuine heart, but at the end of the day, it is all about the money. She is an endless supporter of the NY music establishment at a high level. Endless exaggerated compliments reign down on her to stay in her good graces (and in her pocketbook).
Early in her life we are hinted at that she was very musically talented (piano and voice). But a relationship at a very young age yielded a social disease that impacted many aspects of her health for the rest of her life (including her musical talents and ability to conceive).
After decades of supporting music and playing small gaudy, non singing roles in fundraisers for her own Verdi Club, she dreams of taking the stage for her own soloist opera. Grant hooks her up with the most reputable of vocal coaches and an excellent accompanist. He showers them with big money and they play along (no pun intended) extending endless huge compliments on Streep who has zero vocal talent. Folks, her singing talent are literally scream screeching and are very painful and distracting.
She has does a small concert in front of loyalists (including critics) while the naysayers are kept away by Grant. Invigorated by all the positive reviews, she becomes fixated on performing her operatic screeching at the iconic Carnegie Hall.
I just don't understand the point of this movie even though it was based on a true story. Her pseudo-husband, who of course has a younger lady friend on the side where he sleeps every evening, insulates Foster Jennings from any negatives. She is handled like a piece of veal and protects her from anything not glowing.
Florence Jenkins has no clues or cannot read social cues that she is a laughing stock who is only valued to the extent that she writes checks. Back in the early 40's, with media limited to newspapers, magazines and radio, thought challenging, not impossible to wrap Streep in a safe, cozy cocoon skin.
Yes this is a true story but I'm amazed that it is a story of interest… actually it is rather sad. I'm not sure what Hollywood saw in this story as any sort of box office draw except that it starred Streep and Grant. I know lots of the contemporary movie pundits liked it…to me it was painful and I could barely nod off due to the painful singing.