Florence Foster Jenkins Movie Review
Entertaining but inconsequential, Florence Foster Jenkins stars Meryl Streep as a socialite-performer notorious for her horrible singing (and for being oblivious to how bad she is). Funny until you realize the joke is a real person, the movie basically serves as an opportunity for Streep to play a caricature on her way to an undeserved Oscar nomination.
Make no mistake: Streep is perfectly good. But for the most celebrated actress in history, Florence Foster Jenkins marks the continuation of an unfortunate trend: wasting her skill to reenact eccentric historical figures rather than immerse herself in deep, complex characters. No actress could play Jenkins better, but the role is surface level at best.
More interesting is Hugh Grant’s character, who so desperate to make his wife happy he ends up making a mockery of her. Grant, and his character, is the best part of the movie, even if his arc feels incomplete.
Once all is said and done, Florence Foster Jenkins is an easy watch, the type of drama you can enjoy with the family and then be done with it, neither better off nor worse as a result. It has entertainment value, and some of the scenes where Jenkins puts her vocals on display are pretty amusing. But really, the movie is about a bunch of people, good intentions or not, making fun of a woman who doesn’t know any better. They’re bullies. They laugh at her behind her back. And once that realization settles in with you, the movie is no longer funny or entertaining; it’s just sad.
Florence Foster Jenkins is moderately entertaining, and Streep is fine in the lead, but it’s an empty drama that seems beneath the talent involved
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.