Florence Foster Jenkins tells the true story of the titular character, a wealthy New York City socialite who loves to sing despite her infamous inability to carry a tune.
Meryl Streep disappears into the role, humanizing Jenkins’s performing insecurities, and Hugh Grant is superb as Florence’s admirably doting husband, St. Clair Bayfield.
The biographic’s 1940s world comes alive as Bayfield humors her every socialite whim, which requires more work than one might imagine as he vigilantly protects Florence from the biting criticism invited by her sense of rhythm and tone.
To accompany Florence on piano, Bayfield recruits pianist Cosmé McMoon (a boyish Simon Helberg) who worries that her bad singing will ruin his career, but he reluctantly agrees to accompany her for the high pay.
A tip of the hat to Stephen Frears for directing a solid film. Florence Foster Jenkins will likely earn a handful of Oscar nods, including best actress for Streep, best actor for Grant, and best costume design. The script is streamlined throughout its hour and two-thirds, and is performed cleverly by the entire supporting cast.
See the film because before too long Hollywood may be awarding Streep’s performance with her fourth Oscar win. At the very least it will be her twentieth Oscar nomination.
Contemptor Grade: 9.2/10