It’s that time of year again. This seasons’s SAG screeners are now on our TO DO list. January is already shaping up to be intense, marching directly toward my February 3rd surgery date. Mark and I have 11 films in total to watch before the end of January. Actually, it’s now 9. We saw ARRIVAL on the big screen when it opened, and we love love loved it. So layered and emotional. We might watch it again at home, but I don’t think I’ll write about it here. Last night, we watched FLORENCE FOSTER JENKINS (watch the trailer). We only had about 2 hours before I knew I would lose steam and need to take my weary self to bed. Most of the dramas are over 2 hours, so we chose this one since it fit into our available window of time.
So how was it?
Truth be told, it’s a frothy bit of nothing, although that is not a negative. It is what I expected and wanted at that moment. Also, is there ever a truly bad time watching Streep? (Hint: Not for me)
If you’re like my husband and are troubled by cringe-worthy scenes, there are definitely uncomfortable moments. Mark had to walk out of the room at least once. But it was a gentle cringe, quickly finished.
Certainly, it’s an interesting true life story about an odd and sad woman in a very specific social position at a very specific time. Aside from the spectacle of the performances, I’m not sure why a film like this needs to exist. Maybe there’s an important lesson about living life out loud. But it is lovely to look at, and goes down easily. It also doesn’t wear out its welcome.
And a spectacle it is, with Streep screeching through her singing scenes born from (I assume) the same level devotional study as any complex accent she’s presented. She is, of course, wonderful. Hugh Grant is also great, deserving of the nom alongside Streep. I’m disappointed Simon Helberg didn’t get some award recognition. He sparkles, vibrating with disbelief as he tries to figure out why everyone is pretending Florence is praise-worthy. But there’s also a sensitive arc which he handles nicely.
The film is hilarious, touching, and sad, with a production design that is lushly vintage and somehow contemporary at once.
I likely won’t be haunted by it in any way, but I enjoyed it.