A significant patron of the arts in New York during the Second World War, Florence Foster Jenkins provided musical instruments for underprivileged children and set up The Verdi Club where she produced, directed and starred in tacky shows for select members of high society. But she always wanted to sing opera, despite her tone-deafness and distinct lack of talent.
Now Stephen Frears brings the story to the big screen with three central performances of quality: Simon Helberg as FFJ’s exasperated accompanist, Hugh Grant as her attentive husband and of course the wonderful Meryl Streep in the title role. “In Streep’s inspired hands, Florence never becomes the expected figure of fun, but a diva-in-waiting whose unattainable aspirations you fully understand. And one can only imagine how much coaching the Mamma Mia! star needed to be able to sing badly! Streep’s purity in the face of Florence’s vocal limitations and her complete lack of cynicism towards the character are utterly relatable and totally charming. She gives poignancy to how the real Florence summed up her life: “People may say I can’t sing, but no one can say I didn't sing”. “ Fabulous!