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Florence Foster Jenkins - Film Review

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by Helen Belli (subscribe)
I am now living in Kariong on the Central Coast
The Dreadful Diva

'Music has been my life: music matters'

Florence Foster Jenkins is known as the 'Dreadful Diva', a title she richly deserved. This film, starring Meryl Streep, is based on the true story of a deluded, wealthy socialite who believes she can sing and tackles the most difficult coloratura arias. This belief in herself is encouraged by her beloved common law husband [Hugh Grant], who shields her from critics who could destroy her with one truthful review, which eventually happens with tragic results.

She performs free concerts for her wealthy friends, pays enormous amounts of money for prominent coaches and pianists who keep the deception alive. The film is set in 1944, the world was at war and times were tough.

Any singing teacher knows that when a pupil cannot sing in tune there is no technique to rectify the problem. One cannot fool the human ear, but to tell the truth is usually devastating; they really do believe they have a talent.

The film opens with Florence giving a concert for her friends and it is impossible not to laugh [those of us not tone deaf]. As the story continues, ridicule changes to pity and for many, tears. It's an interesting journey into the heart and soul of a deluded, well-handled generous woman.

Meryl Streep brilliantly portrays Florence as a generous happy woman, loved by everyone who she spoils with time and money in another Oscar winning performance. Hugh Grant is well cast as her modern day toy-boy, tenderly guiding and protecting her in a bubble of unreality, which is touching to watch. Costa McMoon [Simon Helberg] is her choice of pianist and with a generous weekly salary, he plays on in full knowledge of the ghastly truth.

It is a great film about a ridiculous woman who couldn't sing, but was loved by all. It is worth the trip to the cinema to see actors in what must be Oscar winning roles.

People may say I couldn't sing, but none can say I didn't sing'.
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When: Now Showing
Phone: 31376000
Where: On General Release
Cost: Check with Local Cinema
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