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Florence Foster Jenkins (2016)

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The story of Florence Foster Jenkins, a New York heiress who dreamed of becoming an opera singer, despite having a terrible singing voice.

Director:

Stephen Frears

Writer:

Nicholas Martin
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Popularity
4,460 ( 740)
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 10 wins & 41 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Meryl Streep ... Florence Foster Jenkins
Hugh Grant ... St Clair Bayfield
Simon Helberg ... Cosmé McMoon
Rebecca Ferguson ... Kathleen
Nina Arianda ... Agnes Stark
Stanley Townsend ... Phineas Stark
Allan Corduner ... John Totten
Christian McKay ... Earl Wilson
David Haig ... Carlo Edwards
John Sessions ... Dr. Hermann
Brid Brennan ... Kitty
John Kavanagh ... Arturo Toscanini
Pat Starr ... Mrs Vanderbilt
Maggie Steed ... Mrs James O'Flaherty
Thelma Barlow Thelma Barlow ... Mrs Oscar Garmunder
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Storyline

Florence Foster Jenkins, an heiress from NYC, always wanted to be a concert pianist and play Carnegie Hall. An injury in her youth deterred that dream, so she sets out to sing her way to Carnegie Hall, knowing the only way to get there would be, "Practice, practice, practice". Her husband supports her venture, and Florence Foster Jenkins' performance at Carnegie Hall becomes a truly historic event. Written by stephen scialli

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The inspiring true story of the world's worst singer. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for brief suggestive material. | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK | France

Language:

English | German | Italian | Russian

Release Date:

12 August 2016 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Florence See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$29,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$6,601,313, 14 August 2016

Gross USA:

$27,383,770

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$49,052,787
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color | Black and White (some footage)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In real life, Florence Foster Jenkins only released one professional recording. See more »

Goofs

The Carnegie Hall concert includes a mixed race audience of servicemen. While the US Armed Forces had limited integration in Europe after the Battle of the Bulge (white officers leading black enlisted men), they remained segregated until the 1950s. If white and black troops had been permitted into the facility at the same time, they wouldn't have been allowed to sit together. See more »

Quotes

St Clair Bayfield: Will you be writing something?
Earl Wilson: Yes, and it will be the truth.
St Clair Bayfield: Isn't the truth that a lot of hurt people are having some fun?
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Best Damn Internet Show: Pilot (2019) See more »

Soundtracks

The Musical Snuff Box
Written by Anatol Liadov (as Anatoly Liadov)
Performed by Meryl Streep & Simon Helberg
Arranged by Terry Davies
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A tragic tale about mental illness told on an operatically grand scale.
4 May 2016 | by CineMuseFilmsSee all my reviews

Genre labels shape your expectations of a movie but they are also manipulated by promoters to influence audience response. Both Marguerite (2016) and Florence Foster Jenkins (2016) are being sold as "hilarious comedies" whereas in reality they both tell a sad story of self-deception and mental frailty, albeit in funny ways. Marguerite is a comedy of manners, while Florence is a tragi- comedy, the genre that shows the sad truth behind the apparently ridiculous. Both films are bio- pics, with one satirising vanity the other telling a tragic tale about a mental illness that is displayed on an operatically grand scale.

Unlike the fictitious Marguerite who is 'loosely based' on the real person, Florence is closely based on the wealthy and generous arts socialite Florence Foster Jenkins who came to public notoriety when she hired Carnegie Hall for her operatic recitals in 1944. Both films (and still available YouTube recordings) show the full force of how badly the real Florence sang, but that's where the similarity ends. Early in the film we learn that Florence (Meryl Streep) has defied medical science by living well beyond the usual lifespan of a syphilis victim, a disease she contracted on marrying when 18 years old. She endured decades of archaic mercury and arsenic medication with progressive loss of mental functions and chronic exhaustion. Her second marriage remained celibate by mutual agreement and her husband (Hugh Grant) was free to have affairs but was devotedly protective of Florence. The cinematic impact of these facts change the film from a satire to a study of pathos and tragedy as Florence is seriously unwell and singing is the only thing keeping her alive.

While Marguerite amplifies the ridiculous as seen from the other side of the Atlantic, Florence is an American-owned story and any ridicule is tempered with compassion. The combined acting virtuosity of icons Streep and Grant will most likely earn the film Academy nominations as these timeless stars are superb in their parts and their chemistry together is wonderful. Top production values are evident in the period set and costumes, and the whole film has an elegant authenticity that underscores the seriousness of mental degeneration, whether its on the stage of Carnegie Hall or elsewhere. Audiences might leave cinemas still chuckling at the singing of Marguerite and Florence, but many will leave Florence with sympathy for her desperate desire to be something that nature made impossible.


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