20170216: comedy review--florence foster jenkins

Name: Florence Foster Jeknkins (2016)
IMDb: link to Florence Foster Jenkins page

Genres: Comedy, drama.   Country of origin: USA.

Hugh Grant as St. Martin Bayfield, Simon Helberg as Cosme McMoon.

Directed by: Stephen Frears.  Written by: Nicholas Martin.

The Three Acts:

The initial tableaux:
1. It's World War II in NYC, USA.

2. Florence Foster Jenkins is an heiress who thinks she is a fine coloratura singer.  Her second husband, St. Martin Bayfield, does his best to keep her fragile ego from imploding.  He hires Cosme Bayfield to accompany her on piano for singing lessons.  Together they keep up the charade.

Delineation of conflicts:
Jenkins think she can sing quite well.  Cosme knows she cannot.  Bayfield knows this as well.  Cosme thinks the truth should be evident, and the fiction dispelled. Bayfield convinces, at least temporarily, Cosme and others to go along with the outrageous lie, often by bribery and other types of coercion.

Resolution: Bayfield keeps the fiction going far too long, but Jenkins makes a huge and disastrous public appearance.

One line summary: Lying leads to disaster.


Cinematography: 9/10 The film is pretty enough.  The shooting was evidently done by professionals.  I am no expert about how World War II upper crust New York City looked, but I did not see too many obvious foul-ups.

Sound: 5/10 Very unfortunately, the recording quality was rather good.  Streep's voice (as Jenkins, not as Streep) is sooooooooo horrible that I wished to be anywhere but watching this damned film.  So, this was a decision from the director (to the actress) to torture the audience.

Acting: 5/10 Hugh Grant was wonderful, but then he's one of my favourites.  I was glad to see Simon Helberg doing well in something other than The Big Bang Theory.   I liked the players in the lesser roles. A good lead actress would have meant a positive reversal of my view of the film.

Screenplay: 4/10 The script was meant to spotlight the Jenkins character, but the casting doomed the film.  The writing for Grant and Helberg was witty enough.

Final rating: 5/10 Film ruined by directorial contempt.