Florence Foster Jenkins

After seeing a brilliant production of "Souvenir" at A Contemporary Theater in Seattle that featured Patti Cohenour and Mark Anders, I was hesitant to sully that memory. Thank goodness director Stephen Frears ("Philomena") working with writer Nicholas Martin, is known to respect the written word. I was also relieved that the sadder aspects of this remarkable woman's life weren't airbrushed.

Florence Foster Jenkins could have been a tragic figure if not for her irrepressible spirit and her one-of-a-kind relationship with her long-time second husband. Fortunately for her, she was wealthy, so she was fondly viewed as eccentric; had she been poor, people would have called her nuts.

Here is part of the cast:
  • Meryl Streep ("Into The Woods") is our eponymous heroine, utterly tone deaf but completely in love with music; the sounds she hears in her head are immaculately rendered so she has no idea what she really sounds like. Streep has done Country, Rock, Musical Theater, and studied Opera, so this role is not a stretch. She seems to be without ego, as her makeup and silhouette are NOT kind.
  • Hugh Grant ("Four Weddings and a Funeral") is St. Clair Bayfield, her patient and insightful husband. He has a way of managing the many stressful situations in her life with elegance and tact. Grant never conveys anything but absolute sincerity and concern. I really appreciate that!
  • Simon Helberg ("The Big Bang Theory") Watch the look on Cosmé McMoon's face the first time he hears his employer sing. He is a musician so her caterwauling is painful to him. Helberg also does a delicious single-take scene struggling to put on a pair of pants on a slippery floor in his sock feet.
  • Rebecca Ferguson ("Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation") Kathleen is the lovely woman Bayfield keeps on the side for entirely valid reasons. You have to see the film to understand.
I love the scenes in Carnegie Hall, the apogee of American Music. Add this to the list of notable films Streep has accumulated. Because of my fondness for the story itself, I'm putting this memorable outing near the top!
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Check out this sample:
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