A story that inspires courage and compassion
Dubbed the ‘Golden Age,’ there’s a lot of reasons to put the 1940’s on your radar. Rosie the Riveter symbolized women entering the workforce; Christian Dior introduce the pencil and A-line skirts; and Rita Hayworth was the Hollywood “it” girl of the time. But a lot less known fact about that era was a socialite by the name of Florence Foster Jenkins, who aspired to be an opera singer. She had courage to do what she loved, despite what others thought. Here’s how the film, based on her life, measures up on my radar rating.
Plot: “Florence Foster Jenkins” is loosely based on events surrounding the New York socialite and her musical aspirations. She famously performed before crowds as well as recored her music, however, she couldn’t actually sing. But she didn’t let that stop her! In the film she remarks, “People may say I can’t sing, but no one can ever say I didn’t sing.” Florence Foster Jenkins’ (Meryl Streep) husband St. Clair Bayfield (Hugh Grant) supported her dream and talented pianist Cosme McMoon (Simon Helberg) accompanied her performances—their actions are a great examples of having compassion for another, when it’s not always the easiest thing to do.
Engagement: Jenkins had moxie, so much so, she performed at Carnegie Hall before a crowd of boisterous soldiers. The fact that she was not revered as talented—some even found her comical—did not detour her from her love of music. Although there are some minor inaccuracies in comparison to real life events, such as the role her husband played in her life, as well as some of the details about supporting character McMoon, the storyline does an amazing job of depicting episodes in the musical life of Jenkins with great fervor. Streep performed with her own voice and Helberg actually accompanied her on the piano. The duo came alive onstage and off. Streep and Grant’s chemistry was also in sync. Grant who typically has mediocre performances, excelled in the role as her doting husband.
Style: The 40’s fashion in this film is on point, featuring looks that reflected the era including shirtwaist dresses with padded shoulders, A-line skirts, wide-leg trousers, and embellished hats.
Release date: August 12th