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

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!

What's The 411 TV Promo Reel

What's The 411 Celebrity Guest List

This What's The 411TV promo video is a slice of video interviews that were conducted by the "411" team for our flagship television show, What's The 411. The video consists of the following celebrated personalities:
Jamie Foxx
Denzel Washington
Kerry Washington
Halle Berry
Regina King
Mos Def
Alicia Keys

  • Published in 411TV2

Hope Springs

Ten Points on the movie: Hope Springs:

After thirty years of marriage, a middle-aged couple from Nebraska travels to New England for an intense, week-long counseling sessions to reignite the zest in their relationship. Steve Carell co-stars as the therapist.

It's good to see story starring baby boomer stars.

Meryl Streep shows why she's one of the great actresses of her generation. While Tommy Lee Jones proffers a solid performance, he is outshined a bit by Streep. Steve Carell is nearly perfect as their analyst.

The film exclusively focuses on Streep's and Jones's relationship and their interaction with their therapist.

It drags hopelessly through the middle portions. It would have been stronger with a stimulating subplot, maybe more involvement by their children – a son and a daughter.

The film has its amusing moments such as when the therapist asks the staid and conservative couple about their sexual fantasies and whether they engage in oral sex.

This is a low budget film, $30 million, (yes, that's low budget by Hollywood standards) which will mean that it won't have to do quite as well at the box office to be profitable.

Hope Springs get's a "C" for cast diversity. The cast is small and not a lot of opportunities to squeeze in many performers of color. But it manages to feature some black performers in bit parts such as the cab driver.

Hope Springs gets a Rent It. Intellectually stimulating and definitely the type of movie that is perfect for a wintry Saturday evening with a glass of wine and popcorn.

It's rated PG – 13 and is just under two hours in length.

Ten Points on Films Rating System:

See It – It's worth the time and expense of going to the movie theater.

Rent it – It has some entertainment value, but wait and see it at home.

Dead on Arrival – Not worth your time!

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