Sometimes when the real world is getting a bit too overwhelming, especially during these crazy times, the best escape is a good film. I honestly do not know what I would do without them. Tonight, in an attempt to clear my mind and to get started on the virtually endless list of award-nominated movies, I watched Florence Foster Jenkins and if I had to describe the movie in one word it would be “charming”.
Director: Stephen Frears
Lead Actors: Meryl Streep, Hugh Grant, Simon Helberg
Screenplay: Nicholas Martin
Score: Alexandre Desplat
The title character, played masterfully by the incomparable Meryl Streep, is a socialite with a fierce love for music and opera. She would love nothing more than to be a successful opera singer herself but unfortunately she has a horrible singing voice. Completely oblivious to that fact, she hires a vocal coach and has big plans for a recital in which she herself will star. There is a great duality of passion and frailty in her and Meryl Streep portrays that phenomenally. As usual, she inhabits the character with remarkable ease. Florence is quite a larger-than-life type of person but Streep adds a distinct layer of humanity to her which makes her a lot more relatable. Truly a joy to watch.
Something all the characters in this movie have in common is that they are all very lovable, which I think is greatly due to the fact that they have all been cast really, really well. Hugh Grant delivers one of his strongest performances in years and shows a side of himself that we do not often get to see acting-wise. Who impressed me the most, however, was Simon Helberg. I had only ever seen him as Wolowitz in The Big Bang Theory, so his performance in this movie truly blew me away. His portrayal of pianist Cosmé McMoon is hilarious yet sincere and I am very curious to see what kind of roles he will be playing in the future.
Possibly my favourite thing about this movie is the visual aspect of it. The shots are set up to perfection. The set design, the lighting, the costumes, the colours,… It all comes together so beautifully and it is so pleasing to watch. The cinematography brings everything to an even higher level. Something I also greatly appreciate is the fact that there is no abundance of jump cuts and different angles. The camera movements are very simplistic, which allows the viewer to really admire each and every shot. The music by Alexandre Desplat is stunning as well. He has really become one of my favourite film composers.
When I started watching this movie I did not really have high hopes and I did not really know what to expect but I was very pleasantly surprised. Florence Foster Jenkins has a lot of heart and warmth and it is truly one of those movies that makes you laugh and cry at the same time. A real delight!