Florence Foster Jenkins

See this movie: Florence Foster Jenkins. It’s the story inside the movie that I absolutely loved!

It’s a true story based on the life of an extraordinary New Yorker. The story is built around the human element of performance: the anxiety, the preparation or lack thereof, the reflections of the performer and her wide ranging audience of listeners.

The camera shots inside the infamous Carnegie Hall were of particular interest. Revv52 (the performance group I conduct) sang there in March. We got the real perspective of the backstage, the onstage, the inside and the outside of the hall.

The Real Story behind the movie: In the 1940s, New York socialite Florence Foster Jenkins (a Coloratura Soprano) played by Meryl Streep, dreams of becoming a great opera singer. Unfortunately, her ambition far exceeded her talent.

The story finds its way to the esteemed Carnegie Hall where Mrs. Jenkins organizes her OWN performance before a full house. Most of the seats were paid for by Mrs. Jenkins, herself. The critics who attended were relentless with their criticisms of the singer. New York Sun critic wrote, “Mrs. Jenkins has a great voice. In fact, she can sing everything except notes.”

An August 16/16 movie review by Oliver Jones (The New York Observer): “As shown in Florence Foster Jenkins, a comic lark that packs a satisfying emotional wallop and continues the balls-to-the-wall career victory lap Meryl Streep has been on since turning 60 years old seven years ago, deluded self-promotion was not born with the advent of Instagram.”

Meryl Streep can pick em! And she delivers!

In truth, Streep’s character, Florence Foster Jenkins struggled technically as a singer and as a performer “missed” with her interpretations of her material. However, she was fully aware of her detractors. She proclaimed, “People may say I can’t sing, but no one can ever say I didn’t sing.”

And that’s the point of it all. Get out there and do it. Do it till your dying day. Music will bring you joy! Your commitment to your passion will inspire others around you.

Oh and by the way … Florence did SING till her dying day. Five days after the Carnegie Hall concert, she suffered a heart attack. One month after that … she was dead.

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