Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, January 12, 2017


FLORENCE FOSTER JENKINS (2016). Director: Stephen Frears.

Florence Foster Jenkins is loosely based on the life of the title character (Meryl Streep), a silly woman in 1944 New York who fancied herself a patron of the arts but may have been more interested in promoting herself despite a complete lack of talent. Was she delusional; was it all a big goof? Does anybody care? Frankly, a movie about a genuine opera star whose life is full of drama would have been a better bet than this mediocre film about the awful-sounding Jenkins. A bigger problem with the movie is that the characters are one-dimensional and in the case of  her "boyfriend" and manager (Hugh Grant of Love, Actually), highly unlikable. Streep, although miscast, isn't bad and Grant is fine, but the picture is stolen by Simon Helberg in his winning portrayal of Jenkins' befuddled accompanist, Cosme McMoon. But despite some funny moments and bits that attempt to be touching, this is not really a movie about people that anyone could give a fig about. Sadly, Streep has made worse, equally superficial movies, but she also appears in good ones such as Doubt. There was a play about Jenkins, as well as a French film based on her life, and a 2016 docudrama entitled The Florence Jenkins Story. Enough! Stephen Frears also directed Philomena.

Verdict: Hardly worth the time to sit through. **.


angelman66 said...

Bill, THANK YOU, I thought I was going crazy when my best friend and others were all raving about this movie. It's soo dull and soo nothing. I do like the actors and the wonderful production design but sometimes Frears gets so caught up in those details that he neglects the story. My two favorite films of his are Dangerous Liaisons and the more recent The Queen.

William said...

Ill have to check those out. Funny, how you can look at a movie everyone is raving about and wonder "what the fuck ..?" The basic problem with this flick is the subject matter -- on paper it must have seemed a good idea, but ... I think Streep likes the challenge, but her choices aren't always wise.