By SJ Otto
The new movie Florence Foster Jenkins was an interesting experience. It is similar to the movie Ed Woods, 1994. Both celebrities were among the worst of their contemporaries and yet both can claim fame and a cult following. Both became famous for being bad at what they do.
In the beginning of we see a party of her socialite friends and followers who came to Jenkins' (Meryl Streep) husband's house, were people are dancing and drinking. As with Woods, Jenkins has a kind of "Pied Piper" personality who seems to attract people. She is interesting and fun to be around. The fact that she is wealthy does not hurt her either.
Through much of the movie her husband, St Clair Bayfield (Hugh Grant) tries to shelter her from all the critics and those who would laugh at her. Whether he really loves her or whether he likes living off her money is not crystal clear, although he really does seem to love his wife who he can't make love to because she has syphilis. Jenkins said she caught the disease from her earlier marriage. She had it for about 30 years according to the dialog in the movie.
Simon Helberg ( we all know him as Howard Wolowitz, from The Big Bang Theory) does an excellent acting job as Cosmé McMoon, Jenkins' pianist. She takes to him and hires him early in the film. He constantly has reservations performing with her because he thinks it will hold his career back. But as we learn in the end of the film, his career never achieved any more than when he played for Jenkins.
Jenkins seems naive in this film, almost oblivious to her lack of real singing talent. She never seems to acknowledge that her husband has been having a long term affair with a young women who seems to take care of his sexual needs. Does Jenkins really not realize the affair is going on? It is hard to tell for sure. They don't even sleep in the same bed.
It is hard to tell what the point of the film really was or her life is in the context of this movie. But she is an interesting enough personality that I enjoyed watching this film. She seems OK with her life in the end of the movie and I think that most of the audience, as with myself, also feel she lived a good life.
I highly recommend this movie.