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Thursday, August 4, 2016

Florence Foster Jenkins (2016)

A wealthy New York society woman (Meryl Streep) has a passion for music and aspires to a career on the concert stage as an opera singer. But there's a small problem ..... she can't sing! Based on the true story of the heiress Florence Foster Jenkins who was apparently clueless as to her lack of talent but with money enough to subsidize a career and a loving husband (Hugh Grant) who made sure she got what she wanted. Directed by Stephen Frears (PHILOMENA), it's charming and so likable that I can't imagine anyone holding out, not even the Streep haters. It's lightweight stuff and sure it has a semblance of a message, "follow your dream" and all that but it's basically an entertainment. At its heart is the tender platonic love story of Jenkins and her second husband and you can throw in Simon Helberg's aspiring concert pianist into the mix and it's a three way love fest. In her best performance since THE IRON LADY, Streep is excellent. She never condescends to her Florence and doesn't encourage us to laugh at her but if we do, it's an affectionate laughter, not a mean spirited one. Streep's 20th Oscar nomination is not only inevitable but deserving. The period detail of 1944 New York is beautifully rendered by production designer Alan MacDonald and all the more remarkable for being filmed in England! With Rebecca Ferguson and Nina Arianda.  

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