Saturday, 14 May 2016

Florence Foster Jenkins (2016)

New York heiress Florence Foster Jenkins (Meryl Streep) sets her sights on becoming an opera singer. Something she has questionable skill in, a fact that has escaped her as she goes ahead with a live performance.

Stephen Frears, director of 'Philomena' and 'The Queen', has another go at a biopic with this comedy-drama about an atrociously bad singer (though she's probably a far better singer than myself, were I to ever attempt it).

The focus of the comedy here is the bad 'singing' and the fact that Florence is unaware of it. And it does consistently work for amusement whenever she tries belting out the tune. However, the rest of the film's attempt at comedy felt too in-your-face and self-satisfied. A lot of this would be based around the highly irritating Cosme McMoon character, as played aggravatingly by Simon Helberg.

The drama, meanwhile, felt somewhat empty even with someone like Meryl Streep in play. Which, to be perfectly honest, wasn't a surprise considering this is a film from the same guy who managed to botch the emotional impact that should have accompanied 'Philomena'. The key difference here is that this film was played far more superficially meaning it struggles to justify/include/play out the more serious moments in a satisfying manner.

It's an amiable enough film overall, just one that carried little weight. It's been about a week since I watched it and, in that time, it clearly hasn't left much of an impression.

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