The lovely Meryl Streep is a woman whose legendary performances spread across all genres. Tonight I have the privilege of reviewing her latest film that spans insto historical biography drama. The name of the movie if Florence Foster Jenkins and the game is about uniting a city during troubling times. The trailers made this one look promising, but as always I’m here to see if they deliver on said promises. So let’s get started shall we?
- Emotional Delivery
- Great writing
Florence Foster Jenkins is certainly a movie that is dependent on its actors to make it entertaining. Meryl Streep’s performance certainly lives up to its legendary standards and brings the iconic character to life in spades. She once more balances all her emotions, covering a diverse spectrum that includes joy, sickness, and fear all brilliantly wrapped in courage. And to see her butcher the musical notes the way she does, only gains further applause from this reviewer. Hugh Laurie, while not my favorite actor, certainly got the supportive husband role down and had a reactive chemistry with not only Streep, but every character in the film. And as for Simon Helberg, he did a decent job. I don’t know the character or the book, but Helberg’s performance was like a creepier version of Wallowitz with more elegant piano work. I warmed up to the character eventually, and soon found the performance much more fitting.
Outside of the acting though, the emotional drama certainly delivers on the promise of playing with your mood. The feelings of joy, pride, empathy, and anger all dance around in a chaotic waltz as the events unfold. While the actors are certainly the primary means of bringing everything to life, the camera work and accompanying orchestra work amplify the emotional turmoil you might feel. And the writing combined with the story certainly establishes a strong framework to guide everything. The dialogue in particular impressed me, so real and yet so clever that you can’t help but feel dropped into the setting. Bottom line is that the production quality is top notch and certainly the best part of the movie for me.
- The Pace
- Ear shrieking gets old after a while
With all the great things about this movie, it is unfortunate for me that the pace of the movie was very slow. I’ve seen my share of bibliographies, and many of them had some sort of plot point or engaging suspense to keep you hooked. In this movie I didn’t have those aspects, which often left the movie dragging at points and stuck in repetitive sequences. This error/weakness is mostly on my part and I should have been prepared for some slower moments. However, the rest of the audience had no problems with the speed of the movie and relished in the drama.
The second dislike comes from Florence’s main theme of singing poorly to a number of crowds. At first the gimmick is fun and funny, as Mirren throws off key ballads under the pretense she sings well. However, she soon transitions into opera and the surround sound, high amplitude shrieking becomes quite an ear splitter that may give you a headache. That joke also grew stale for me too, but its relevance to the plot made up for it despite the decibels she reached. It might be a minor point, but it was something I didn’t quite enjoy. In addition the movie itself wasn’t revolutionary as well and therefore wasn’t the masterpiece I thought it would be from the trailers.
Overall Florence Foster Jenkins has high production quality and a five star cast that brings the movie to life in more ways than one. However, it probably could have had just a strong impact if it had premiered as a PBS original movie. For me there just wasn’t much theater quality to it (e.g. no special effects, or unique enough story). Therefore I can’t recommend this one is a must see in theaters. Who is the target audience for this movie. Well if my showing is a representative sample, it seems that women greater than the age of 50 are going to enjoy this most.
My scores are:
Movie Overall: 7