Florence Foster Jenkins ★★★★

Stephen Frears directs this biographical story of Florence Foster Jenkins, a New York heiress who dreamed of becoming an opera singer, despite having a terrible singing voice.

In the 1940s, New York trend-setter Florence Foster Jenkins (Meryl Streep) aims of becoming a fantastic opera singer. Inappropriately, her determination far surpasses her aptitude. The voice Florence hears in her head is amazing, but to everyone else it is quite irritating.

Meryl Streep gives a terrific performance in her role as the title character and she suits the role really well, acting like she is determined to become an opera singer, no matter what anyone else thinks. She makes the most of the time she has on the screen.

There is an excellent supporting performance to be had from Hugh Grant in his role as St Clair, Florence’s husband who does absolutely everything he possibly can never to make his wife discover how terrible she really is. He also acts like he is determined to succeed in the difficult task when his wife announces she wants a concert to be arranged.

Grant suits his role really well, giving one of the most memorable roles of his career – his best supporting performance since Jane Austen’s brilliant adaptation of Sense and Sensibility 21 years earlier.

Elsewhere, there are respectable supporting performances to be had from Simon Helberg and Rebecca Ferguson in their respective roles as Cosmé McMoon and Kathleen Weatherby. Cosmé is the pianist who is surprised by Florence’s singing, while Kathleen is St Clair’s lover who lives in his apartment.

The direction from Stephen Frears is excellent because he allows the facial expressions to be seen to a strong effect throughout, while also keeping a tense atmosphere happening on occasions as well. The script is written to a very good standard by Nicholas Martin as he makes the movie easy to follow.

What also makes the film work well is the excellent use of the technical aspects, as the set, camera and costume all stand out best. The set is terrific to view throughout; the camera makes good use of the locations; the costumes are fabulously designed.

Overall, this is one very decent biopic of Florence Foster Jenkins and if you didn’t know anything about her before this film, you certainly will do after watching. It works very well due to the excellent performances from Meryl Steep and Hugh Grant, along with the excellent direction, script and technical aspects.

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