'Florence Foster Jenkins' is surprisingly flat

Florence Foster Jenkins (Paramount)

Florence Foster Jenkins
3 out of 5 Stars
Stephen Frears
Writer: Nicholas Martin
Starring: Meryl Streep, Hugh Grant, Simon Helberg
Genre: Biography, Drama
Rated: PG-13 for brief suggestive material.
Recommended to: Diehard fans of Meryl Streep, those looking for the driest of dry humor

Synopsis: New York heiress Florence Foster Jenkins (Meryl Streep) has long been a patron of the arts, but her dream has always been to become a renowned singer. Unfortunately for Jenkins all the money in the world can’t buy you a singing voice.

Review: The awards campaign for Meryl Streep has already started and considering her track record it is easy to see why. The problem is I don’t know that she’s actually worthy this time around. It isn’t that she turns in a bad performance, but it is a one-note character where Streep plays befuddled for the better part of two hours. To be fair, it isn’t exactly Streep’s fault as Nicholas Martin’s script doesn’t give her much more than that to do.

Of course the film is quaintly framed and the art design impeccable, this is a Stephen Frears film after all, but about halfway through I found myself bored. I had long since lost interest in Hugh Grant’s portrayal of St Clair Bayfield, Jenkins’ protective husband who goes to great lengths to shelter her from the fact that she is a terrible singer. All the while he’s having a fairly publicized affair with a younger woman (Rebecca Ferguson). Of course Jenkins is oblivious. What else could she be?

Simply put, “Florence Foster Jenkins” isn’t as good as it looks on paper. It’s a decent, mildly funny film that offers few surprises.

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