Monday, August 14, 2017

Florence Foster Jenkins

Photo: the movie's poster, from its Wikipedia page

The movie with Meryl Streep, that Bozo the President said proved she was an over-rated actress, was a small, very good film about confidence and courage, the power of money and illusion. Hugh Grant is perfect as the self-illusioned money-grubber sort-of husband, but he may actually have loved her as well. He walks a fine line and pulls it off, as did the guy he's playing. 

Jenkins was oddly painful to listen to, yet you applaud her, as many concert-goers and radio listeners did. Her record was the biggest seller for its label, and she sold out Carnegie Hall faster than Sinatra. The fact that she was terrible played in her favor, as did total political inexperience for someone else we know. Yet Cole Porter attended. Toscanini was a personal friend. People were paid off and others fooled themselves, yet there is something to be said for the joy and pleasure she brought to so many, all of whom were perfectly aware of her ineptitude. Maybe she made many of them appreciate their own incompetence, and therefore made it okay to celebrate the mediocrity in all of us. I don't know. But it would've made a wonderful test case for a psychologist studying group dynamics, the herd and the masses, and perhaps a touch of group hysteria.

My favorite line comes right at the end: "People may say I can't sing, but no one can ever say I didn't sing." Maybe so, but you have to respect that attitude. I didn't do it well, she says, but I did do it. Hell, that's most of my days.

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