Florence Foster Jenkins
I think I sound pretty good
I saw Florence Foster Jenkins the other day. It was what I expected and more. Awkwardness, screeching, wailing, and hilarity were prevalent in this film and I enjoyed every bit of it.
Going in I had no expectations for the leading lady other than that she would kill this role and she did. I’m not a big fan of Meryl Streep but one thing I know of her is that she truly becomes the characters that she plays in her films. From what I’ve watched and read about the real Florence, I believe Meryl encapsulated the essence of her in this film.
Florence was hell-bent on singing and performing in front of an audience and indeed she did at Carnegie Hall no less. She had more than enough money to get there and a large network of friends that supported her along the way. Their support, however, was quite endearing but a little bit disturbing. In particular, both her pianist and lover shielded her from negative press and reinforced her delusional beliefs that she was one of the greatest opera singers of her time. She was so elated and enamored with singing that it blinded her from harsh truths of reality.
Now the point of this article isn’t to dismiss the fact that this woman couldn’t sing. She WAS horrible. Nonetheless, one could argue that some of Picasso’s Cubism work looks well…crazy but someone else would beg to differ. Simon Helberg who played Cosme in the film said in a recent interview that Florence was child-like. She was like a child that enjoyed drawing but knew not that her work was no Rembrandt but looked like jumbled mess of crayon. Conclusively, as the saying goes, beauty is indeed in the eye of the beholder.
In an extremely saturated world of judging shows and the disparaging views of those in social media, I find Florence’s story refreshing. This film makes you wonder if society wasn’t so critical of themselves or of each other, how many more people would actually attempt to live their dreams or [Gasp!] actually live it out in front of an audience. This is the very reason why I found her so charming and inspiring. I also think she had some big balls and was a little bit crazy. Those may be a few of the magic ingredients to make that leap into the frontiers of your true passion and happiness. You might have to sprinkle some Benjamins on those dreams of yours too!
Far too many of us are so self-defeating and don’t do things because of public opinion. Screw that! Life is too short. One day you might actually find an audience that enjoys your screeching and wailing just as much as you do.