The story of Florence Foster Jenkins is a real life classic re-telling of ‘The Emperor’s New Clothes’, but instead of a king the lead is a New York heiress who dreamed of becoming an opera singer, despite having a terrible singing voice. The journey ultimately takes the viewer to a packed concert at the Carnegie Hall.
It’s impossible to describe a film as “delightful… just delightful” without hearing the velvety tones of Hugh Grant saying those words. But that’s what it is. A treat of moving and at times wildly funny storytelling that just works … from beginning to end in a tragic-comedy sort of way.
Meryl Streep is just glorious in the role, oozing charm as she does. Meryl watchers know (from the likes of “Mamma Mia”) that Streep knows how to belt out a good tune, so it requires some considerable skill to deliver Florence’s songs as badly as she does. Each word she smoothly speaks, or screechingly screams, feels like her own as she embodies “the world’s worst singer.” Bravo Ms Streep, Bravo!
And Hugh Grant gives a sterling performance. What drives Mayfield’s character is never totally clear, but in the end the motivating factor becomes crystal clear, and Grant has never been better.
To round off the accolades for the lead performances, Simon Helberg’s piano playing that stole the show. Not only that, but Simon Helberg turns in a genius comic performance as the goggle-eyed pianist, who lights up every scene he’s in and delivers his lines with perfect comic timing.
The film came together into something delightful. The story is slowly and subtly unwoven, only progressively revealing the plot points in an intelligent manner. The cinematography along with Production Design, Costuming and Special effects crew brought vibrant 1940’s New York to life with outrageous outfits and elegant décor.
While the film’s leisurely pace might make the younger set fidgety, this is a treat particularly for older viewers looking for a great night out at the cinema. You’ll leave feeling “Delightful… just delightful”. Go see it.