February 25, 2017

Florence Foster Jenkins (2016)

Meryl Streep, Hugh Grant

There is a reason people adore Meryl Streep. She really can play anything.

Take this movie: on its face, it sounds absurdly stupid. A wealthy woman stages concerts for herself to star in, except she is a terrible singer. It's American Idol, if William Hung were rich and rigged the contest for himself. I'll fully admit I went into this planning to hate-watch the entire movie.

But it's not stupid at all. It's not even a little stupid (though I really could have with less of Streep actually singing). Instead of being about her singing, it's actually about her relationship with Hugh Grant, the complexities of supporting your partner, and the audacity of dreams. Move over, Emma Stone, this movie is a far better representation of someone who relentlessly pursues her artistic dream.

The movie shouldn't work, really. The pairing of Hugh Grant and Meryl Streep seems weird, but they are both so wonderful in it that you forget about the visible age gap. Hugh Grant plays such a supportive, loving, devoted husband that it completely sells them as a couple. You actually like him so much you almost don't mind he's having an affair. But then again, that's what Hugh Grant does best--play a lovable cad.

As for Streep, I couldn't help but wonder how much work it was to purposely sing off key. She starred in Mamma Mia, so we know she has an actual ability to sing. Then again, opera is so difficult and high pitched that even decent singers would probably sound horrific attempting it.

Final word: Unexpectedly charming. 

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