Florence Foster Jenkins is delightful, a whimsical comic romp that cuts to the heart of the love for music. The film follows the story of the titular Florence (Meryl Streep), an aristocratic benefactor for the arts living in New York City with her husband Clair Bayfield (Hugh Grant), who’s convinced her that she’s a brilliant singer. Florence teams with a charismatic young piano player (Simon Helberg), who begin to work together.
To say Meryl Streep is fantastic is unnecessary, but what’s fantastic is the writing of the character; Florence has to be funny yet sympathetic, and relatable yet tragic, and Streep nails the nuances as always. Hugh Grant is also a great character here, a character with a flexible morality that is charismatic and sweet throughout the film. However, the real standout of the film is Simon Helberg, a brilliant performance that is so full of life, proving to be a great duo with Streep.
What’s so brilliant about Florence Foster Jenkins is not just how hilarious it is, but the films sincerity. The comedy is brilliant in more than many ways, but the serious moments feel earned, and there are more than a few memorable and emotional scenes. The cast is all Oscar-worthy, and Stephen Frears proves once again how he’s able to generate an emotional and genuine tale. Grade: B+
For more of my thoughts on Florence Foster Jenkins, check out my appearance on “After Credits”: