Streep Is on Song in Brilliant Biopic; Florence Foster Jenkins (Pg)

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), May 6, 2016 | Go to article overview

Streep Is on Song in Brilliant Biopic; Florence Foster Jenkins (Pg)


AUDITIONS for televised talent shows throw up a limitless supply of deluded wannabes, who refuse to let a lack of musicality or rhythm hamper their quest for pop superstardom.

Occasionally, these loveable misfits strike a chord because of their unfettered enthusiasm - witness the inexorable rise of The Cheeky Girls and Jedward.

Amateur operatic soprano Florence Foster Jenkins was one such endearing eccentric, who became a cause celebre in 1930s and 1940s New York precisely because she was unable to hold a note during her infamous recitals of Verdi, Brahms and Mozart.

Recordings of her caterwauling became collector's items and her concerts were always sold out.

Jenkins brought joy to millions and remained convinced of Meryl Streep her soaring abilities until her glorious end, aged 76.

This real-life story of triumph against sniggering cynicism provides rich inspiration for Stephen Frears' rollicking comedy drama.

Anchored by tour-de-force performances from Meryl Streep and Hugh Grant that perfectly harmonise humour and pathos, Florence Foster Jenkins is an unabashedly joyful period piece that stands resolutely behind the eponymous socialite as she massacres the Laughing Song from Die Fledermaus or the Queen Of The Night aria from The Magic Flute.

As the heroine remarks: "People may say I couldn't sing but no one can say I didn't sing."

Florence (Streep) is determined to further her musical ambitions with the help of in the title role her second husband and doting companion, St Clair (Grant).

"I shall need a pianist. Someone young, someone with passion!" declares Florence excitedly.

The couple audition several accompanists but they fail to meet Florence's exacting standards. …

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