Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Florence Foster Jenkins [2016]

MPAA (PG-13)  CNS/USCCB (A-III)  ChiTrib/LATimes (1 Star) (3 1/2 Stars)  AVClub (B-)  Fr. Dennis (3 1/2 Stars)

IMDb listing
CNS/USCCB (J. Mulderig) review
ChiTrib/LATimes (K. Walsh) review (S. Wloszczyna) review
AVClub (K. Rife) review 

Florence Foster Jenkins [2016] (directed by Stephen Frears, screenplay by Nicholas Martin) is a 1940s era period piece that, thematically, really should have been R-rated -- there's flagrant (if to an _adult_ not entirely incomprehensible) adultery in it, fairly frank discussion of the effects of syphilis (back in the day before antibiotics), and it does argue a quite fascinating case _for_ hypocrisy that a 12-13, 15 or even 20 or 25 year old would probably _not_ be able to wrap one's head around.  (Honestly, IMHO most young people would probably _not_ understand this film _at all_ and this is reflected in some of the review citations I offer above).

Florence Foster Jenkins [wikip] [IMDb] (played in the film quite marvelously, of course ;-), by Meryl Streep ;-) was a _rich_ aging New York socialite at the end of the first half of the 20th century, who did apparently have some musical talent early in life (playing the concert piano).  However, her concert piano playing days came to a tragic end due to a very, very, very bad first marriage.  What to do?  Well, she got it into her head that she could sing.  Could she?  Well, no.

BUT ... she was rich.  A second, significantly younger than she, (common law) husband St Clair Bayfield [wikip] (played with admirable heart / complexity by Hugh Grant), who himself was a "never going to be an A-list Broadway let alone Shakespearean stage actor," both _used her_ (she was RICH, remember) _and_, honestly, _protected her_ ... so that her she never really had to confront her limits / delusions.


This is a film that a 35 year old would only _begin_ to understand.

Great and amusingly irritating film.  Just remember folks, when your 75-80 year-old grandmother burns a cake do you tell her that "it sucked"? ;-)

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