Florence Foster Jenkins

Director: Stephen Frears
Year Released: 2016
Rating: 3.0

Wealthy but talentless singer Jenkins (Meryl Streep) - shielded from the realities of the world by her "husband"/actor/fixer St. Clair Bayfield (Hugh Grant) - books a show at the prestigious Carnegie Hall in NYC ... only to be met with a scathing review by the New York Post. Frears and screenwriter Nicholas Martin actually do something interesting with this simple narrative - they take a tragedy and disguise it as a light comedy: Jenkins loves music but music doesn't love her back, she loves Bayfield but he cannot physically love her back (he has a girlfriend who's an actress), she suffers from syphilis, all her friends are bought and paid for ... and yet she's aware of none of this. Naturally, it all works because of Streep and Grant: he's diligent and dutiful and she's willfully ignorant, genuinely shocked when someone says something remotely negative (one of the side effects of treating her illness is hearing damage ... which explains a lot in retrospect). The resulting sensation is not one of elation but despair, although along the way Streep does what she does best: subtly develop a flawed woman.