At The Movies
Florence Foster Jenkins
Director: Stephen Frears
Cast: Meryl Streep, Hugh Grant, Simon Helberg
‘Florence Foster Jenkins’ is a story that revolves around a wealthy socialite Florence Foster Jenkins (Meryl Streep ) who fancies herself an opera diva. The fact that she doesn’t possess a single talented bone in her body does not appear to dissuade her at all. So deluded is Jenkins’ belief in her own talents that she is more than willing to share it with an audience; much to the dismay of her husband St Clair Bayfield (Hugh Grant). But instead of giving her the hard truths and breaking her heart in the process he decides to play along and fulfil her dreams. This naturally means screening the audience, paying off critics for favourable reviews and ensuring that the supporting cast around her keep their shock, dismay and utter horror on the inside and off their I think it’s fair to say that by this point we’ve come to expect nothing but excellence from Meryl Streep and she does not disappoint this time around either. Her representation of Florence Foster Jenkins as a somewhat odd, gentle and assuredly delusional (at least when it comes to her own artistic merits) wealthy patron of the arts is endearing. Jenkins was undoubtedly a terrible singer with no redeeming qualities, but Streep plays her as a woman who is genuinely enamoured with the arts and wants nothing more than to express that love to the world through her own performances…to everyone else’s dismay. At no point do you get the sense that Jenkins was self-aggrandising or narcissistic, but rather someone who was unaware of their own limitations; unawareness that was in no small part encouraged and perpetuated for various reasons by the people around her.
Hugh Grant was very good as the flawed but sincerely dedicated husband St Clair Bayfield. Grant presents a character who despite his faults cares deeply for his wife. Bayfield goes through great lengths and great expense to preserve his wife’s dignity, confidence and overall wellbeing. It seems there was no price too big for his partner’s happiness. It was nice to see Grant in a bigger role again and no longer playing the floppy haired charmingly bumbling Englishman that the audience has come to associate him with.
Florence Foster Jenkins is a simple, funny and touching story about a woman who dreamt of being more than she could ever be and the people around her who went out of their way to create and support that dream. It’s a nice change of pace from the loud doom and gloom scenarios presented by superhero, action and disaster films that seem to be everywhere these days. It’s one of those films you can take your mom to and still have a fun time yourself.
This is definitely worth the price of admission
Reviewed by Andrew Fisun
Son of Saul
Director: László Nemes
Cast: Géza Röhrig, Levente Molnár, Urs Rechn, Todd Charmont, Jerzy Walczak
Son of Saul is a difficult movie to watch, and I mean that both figuratively and literally…but first let me tell you more about the film.