Streep, Grant Make Sweet Music In The Summer's Best Biopic

Streep, Grant Make Sweet Music In The Summer's Best Biopic

Film Review: Meryl Streep's "Florence Foster Jenkins"

There seems to be little middle ground for period piece biopics. Some -- the uplifting stories with which audiences are already familiar -- garner critical praise and impressive box office returns while fascinating footnotes of history -- those largely unknown or ignored "stranger than fiction" tales -- are typically received with lukewarm reluctance. One of the most glaring examples in relatively recent memory is the 2000 Jacqueline Susann biopic, "Isn't She Great?" an amazing story rendered impotent by the heavy-handed hamming of Bette Midler and Nathan Lane.

I use this particular example because Meryl Streep's latest film, "Florence Foster Jenkins," while sharing a suspiciously similar plot with the former, is directly parallel to the box office bomb on the cinematic bell curve. Two stories, both of powerful of spirit if not totally talentless women with unending support from their respective husbands, and yet while Midler's movie failed, Meryl's latest venture is but another rousing addition to the pantheon of her stellar career.

The film tells the story of Florence Foster Jenkins, an heiress and aspiring singer who, despite an overwhelming lack of talent, actively pursued a singing career over the course of decades in the early 20th century. Though plagued by hecklers, critics and detractors throughout her career, Jenkins -- who famously quipped that "people may say I couldn't sing, but no one can say I didn't sing" -- managed to sell out Carnegie Hall a scant month before her death at age 76.

The real-life grande dame of delusion.

Due, no doubt, to the fact that this is a wholly British production (BBC produced it and Hugh Grant plays the male lead, how much more British could you get?), the ludicrous topic is handled with a remarkable amount of restraint. Though wholly immersed in a cloud of self-delusion, her own creation, abetted by many, rarely does Streep's portrayal of Jenkins come across as pitiable; rather, the formidable "Madame Florence" commands a respect from audiences both onscreen and off.

What is perhaps most astounding is the fact that this film -- through stirring performances by Streep, Grant and Simon Helberg of TV's "The Big Bang Theory," as well as Danny Cohen's expert cinematography -- manages to wring such poignancy and inspiration from what is, on paper, a one-note joke. Even the scenes depicting Jenkins' "performances," -- comedic low-hanging fruit which could have easily been weighted by cliché -- are portrayed with what borders on reverence. If the real life chanteuse managed to convince herself that she was of rare talent, Streep's depiction achieves this on a wider scale.

"Florence" avoids the mistake made by Midler's 2000 turn as the legendary author Susann and, rather than making a feeble attempt to integrate the spouse into the plot, more or less centers the plot around St. Clair Bayfield, Jenkins' common-law husband with whom she shares a mildly unusual living arrangement (he lives with his girlfriend, Flo foots the bill).

Grant's Britannic upbringing serves him well as the stoic anchor to Streep's extravagant and eccentric character as well as a wider series of oddballs who lend both a tenderness and frivolity to an already outstanding production. Grant's portrayal of Bayfield, a 20th century Sisyphus forever shielding his beloved from scathing reviews, is done so with commendable poise, especially considering his burden of playing the "straight man" to several characters who, while outrageous, never cross over into that dreaded territory of cheap stereotypes.

With a superb cast, quality camera work and a unique story, the movie more than makes up for its only flaw; haphazard exposition. It is a period piece of substance and a film of which the soon-to-be legendary Ms. Jenkins would approve of wholeheartedly, one which will undoubtedly earn La Streep her 20th Oscar nomination.

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I'm A Woman And You Can't Convince Me Breastfeeding In Public Is OK In 2019

Sorry, not sorry.


Lately, I have seen so many people going off on social media about how people shouldn't be upset with mothers breastfeeding in public. You know what? I disagree.

There's a huge difference between being modest while breastfeeding and just being straight up careless, trashy and disrespectful to those around you. Why don't you try popping out a boob without a baby attached to it and see how long it takes for you to get arrested for public indecency? Strange how that works, right?

So many people talking about it bring up the point of how we shouldn't "sexualize" breastfeeding and seeing a woman's breasts while doing so. Actually, all of these people are missing the point. It's not sexual, it's just purely immodest and disrespectful.

If you see a girl in a shirt cut too low, you call her a slut. If you see a celebrity post a nude photo, you call them immodest and a terrible role model. What makes you think that pulling out a breast in the middle of public is different, regardless of what you're doing with it?

If I'm eating in a restaurant, I would be disgusted if the person at the table next to me had their bare feet out while they were eating. It's just not appropriate. Neither is pulling out your breast for the entire general public to see.

Nobody asked you to put a blanket over your kid's head to feed them. Nobody asked you to go feed them in a dirty bathroom. But you don't need to basically be topless to feed your kid. Growing up, I watched my mom feed my younger siblings in public. She never shied away from it, but the way she did it was always tasteful and never drew attention. She would cover herself up while doing it. She would make sure that nothing inappropriate could be seen. She was lowkey about it.

Mindblowing, right? Wait, you can actually breastfeed in public and not have to show everyone what you're doing? What a revolutionary idea!

There is nothing wrong with feeding your baby. It's something you need to do, it's a part of life. But there is definitely something wrong with thinking it's fine to expose yourself to the entire world while doing it. Nobody wants to see it. Nobody cares if you're feeding your kid. Nobody cares if you're trying to make some sort of weird "feminist" statement by showing them your boobs.

Cover up. Be modest. Be mindful. Be respectful. Don't want to see my boobs? Good, I don't want to see yours either. Hard to believe, I know.

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13 Quotes For All Of Us Empowered Female-Identifying People Out There

For the days when you need to be reminded that you are really doing the dang thing and doing it well.


For the days when you need to be reminded that you are really doing the dang thing and doing it well.

1. Do you really need someone else's permission, acceptance, wink, or nod, or are you ready to give these to yourself? -The Universe

I get notes from the Universe everyday and all of them are so amazing and inspiring. There might be a few of them on this list. You can sign up for your own notes from the universe here.

2. The princess saves herself in this one. -Amanda Lovelace

The quote is based off a book called The Princess Saves Herself In This One, which is a collection of poetry about resilience, you can get the book here.

3. I'm made of more than you think. -Snow White, Mirror, Mirror

4. Other people's perception of you ain't none of your business. -Lisa Nichols


5. Do you realize how many events and choices that had to occur since the birth of the universe leading to the making of just exactly the way you are? -Mrs. Which, A Wrinkle In Time

I love this because it really hits home how so many right and wrong decisions led to the creation of you and how you should appreciate the good and the bad because without either of them you wouldn't be exactly who you were supposed to be.

6. You can't stop what's done to you. You can only survive it. -Rachel, Georgia Rule 

This brings up an important theme of my life that I'm still trying to figure out. The only thing you can control in your life is how you react to what happens to you.

7. Don't let anyone ever make you feel like you don't deserve what you want. -Patrick Verona, 10 Things I Hate About You

8. No one can make you feel inferior without your consent. -Queen Clarisse, The Princess Diaries

9. No trifling of the past, no matter how great, can tarnish the brilliance of eternity. -The Universe

10. People who are insignificant to your future shouldn't have an impact on your present.

Someone once told me this, and although I can't remember the person, this quote has always stuck with me.

11. Talented, brilliant, incredible, amazing, show stopping, spectacular, never the same, totally unique, completely not ever been done before. -Lady Gaga

You know what... I think she was talking about you.

12. Tell yourself it's easy. Tell yourself often. Make it an affirmation. Eat, sleep, breathe it, and you life shall be transformed. -The Universe

13. Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. -Mark Twain 

Go on then, be empowered and trust your instincts, you've got big things coming... I can tell.

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