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Movie Review: Florence Foster Jenkins Will Shrill Her Way Into Your Heart!

Meryl Streep as Florence Foster Jenkins with Hugh Grant. Photo Credit: Unknown Meryl Streep as Florence Foster Jenkins with Hugh Grant.

People may say I can't sing, but no one can ever say I didn't sing", declared Florence Foster Jenkins. Born Nascina Florence Foster, in 1868, the daughter of a wealthy attorney, she later dropped Nascina and added her first husband's surname, Jenkins. The film, Florence Foster Jenkins, based upon a true story, stars Meryl Streep as a woman who despite having very little vocal talent was nevertheless convinced of her own exceptional singing abilities. Those who thought otherwise were either low class or poor judges of vocal excellence. Her piano accompanist Cosmo McMoon (Simon Helberg) did his best to hide her many voice imperfections. She used her wealth to gain access to New York City society and through that access was able to develop a small but loyal following. St. Clair Bayfield (Hugh Grant) was her second husband; although they never consummated their relationship due to Jenkins' health issues. Bayfield was his wife's most loyal supporter and also her manager, despite his unexpressed realization that Jenkins had little singing talent.

Florence Foster Jenkins was a movie in which I literally went from how did this movie ever get made, to what a great film! The plot, a wealthy eccentric lady believes she can sing when actually she cannot, is not an interesting concept. However, this script is skillfully written by Nicholas Martin and perfectly cast with Meryl Streep, Hugh Grant, and Simon Helberg and they take an unexceptional premise and turn it into an exceptional movie. Florence Foster Jenkins is a See It!

The story takes a while to develop. But ultimately viewers are drawn in by the depth and appeal of Foster. A woman of warmth, compassion, and a unique charm. But ultimately this is a story of the power of positive thinking – aided a bit by wealth; and how if you believe in yourself, you find as least some others will too.

As to our cast diversity rating, Florence Foster Jenkins gets an A-. Considering the setting is upper-class 1940s New York City, the film has a black couple in the social set of St. Clair Bayfield. During that time period, New York City was about 7% black and that was reflected in this film with black people commonly featured in street and other public shots. And also black G.I.s were prevalent in soldier scenes.

Florence Foster Jenkins is rated PG for brief suggestive material. Running time is 110 minutes, and it gets our highest rating, See It!