Florence Fosters Knee Jerks

The first thing that struck me about the movie Florence Foster Jenkins is that Hugh Grant is aging. Sad, but true. It’s happening to all of us, but there is little gratification in seeing it on him.

Grant has played his share of bad boys, roles which he seems most comfortable with. Indeed, he shines in one of my all-time favorites, About A Boy, in his narcissistic-yet-lovable skin opposite the ever-formidable Toni Colette. However, in this movie, he manages as longsuffering hubby to wannabe opera singer, Florence. As the facts of Florence and her struggles unfold, the thought recurs time and again how the real Mr. Jenkins should have been inducted into sainthood. He was clearly a man of tremendous compassion.


Grant does get the opportunity to cut loose a little with some swing dancing, which is fun to see.

The second reactive moment was when Meryl Streep’s version of Florence’s  bad singing went on way too long. Way, WAY too long. I mean like, we get it already. Why must we suffer?

The appearance of Simon Helberg offers a welcome respite from the auditory onslaught. Nobody can make a mortified face quite like Simon Helberg. He offers a whole plethora of boggled, plaintive expressions.

The movie is sweet, dripping with loyalty and devotion, personal sacrifice and protected innocence. It hits home the point: True love means supporting the dreams of your partner, no matter how misguided they may seem.

There are a few occasions when the tale’s oddity clangs with the notion that this stuff actually happened. It falls under the too-weird-to-be-true-but-it-still-is category, kinda like Eastwood’s The Changling, only happier.

The story moves along pretty briskly and the cinematography, the color palette of the era is engaging and delicious.

At the end, the credits roll with some of Florence’s actual recordings, and it hits home how screechily accurate Meryl Streep’s wailings are. However, that probably doesn’t come as a surprise. She is, after all, Meryl Streep.


I came away not cramped with laughter, but actually a bit melancholy. It is worth seeing, though.

If you can stand the noise.



About Nancy J. Bailey

Artist, author, bad karaoke singer. Woodsy ragamuffin. Mom of a horse named Clifford who plays fetch and paints with watercolors. He visits libraries and schools with me, to promote literacy and making the world a better place. Yes, he is house trained, no, he doesn't live in my house! I have written three books about Clifford. But my newest book, THE NORTH SIDE OF DOWN, is co-written by my awesome sister Amanda, who has Down syndrome. Her unexpected one-liner wisecracks can always make me laugh. If you make me laugh, you've made my day!
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2 Responses to Florence Fosters Knee Jerks

  1. Holli Shan says:

    I adored this movie, and I totally agree – Simon Helberg’s facial expressions added so much to the film. I was glad to see Hugh Grant playing something other than a stuttering fop. I think he has aged gracefully. If there were to be a bio film made about Prince Charles, I think Grant would fit the bill. In my mind, Meryl Streep can do no wrong. 🙂 We were ready for the noise when we walked in. It was nice to see a 40’s era film without all of the bells and whistles of a sweeping landscape done in 3D computer animated smell-o-vision (also in IMAX) 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • “Stuttering fop”! HAAHAHAH What a great way to describe him in those Brit movies. You are right, he is still very good looking but I admit it was a shock to see the age on him. I think I have him frozen in time. I agree about the animation. The costumes were delightful, too.


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