“Florence Foster Jenkins” is a movie that hits all the right notes.
One of the best comedies of the year is “Florence Foster Jenkins.” It’s about an American socialite in the 1940’s who fancied herself an exquisite soprano, but couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket. Meryl Streep plays the title character and earns guffaws every time she sings badly, but this sophisticated entertainment has a lot more on its mind than easy laughs. It’s actually a deft character study about her complex marriage to her greatest fan and enabler St. Clair Bayfield (a never better Hugh Grant).
Nicholas Martin’s script has a lot to say about what constitutes love and marriage, as well as the pursuit of one’s dreams. It may be a period piece but it serves as a deft commentary on fame and talent, especially in our reality TV age. Veteran director Stephen Frears puts it all together perfectly, from the detailed costumes to the vivid production design to the clever cast of supporting players, including a sweetly meek Simon Helberg as Florence’s embarrassed accompanist. Few movies can be described as both hilarious and poignant, but this special film is indeed that.