FLORENCE FOSTER JENKINS Review — An Early Oscar Contender

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Florence Foster Jenkins reviewIn her Florence Foster Jenkins review, Lisa Johnson Mandell says the tender comedy is something to sing about.

I need to state right up front that I’m not of the impression that just because a film stars Meryl Streep, that doesn’t necessarily make it Oscar worthy. Just take a look at Ricki and the FlashThe Giver and Death Becomes Her. To be honest, she will likely get a nomination for her tender portrayal of a wealthy socialite who fancies herself an accomplished opera singer but in reality can’t carry a tune.

But it’s Simon Helberg, playing her long-suffering accompanist, who is now the one to beat in the Best Supporting Role category. Who knew the soft-spoken nerd on “The Big Bang Theory” could shine so brightly on the big screen? And Hugh Grant, as Florence’s indulgent husband, is as good as we’ve ever seen him.

That being said, the whole concept of Florence Foster Jenkins is a tough sell. For some reason, in this day and age when self promotion on social media is the currency of fame, people role their eyes when they hear about a mature woman using actual currency as the currency of fame.

The reason why Foster Jenkins is so charming, however, as opposed to your basic manic YouTuber with a million followers, is that she was so blissfully and sincerely unaware of herself and her lack of talent. Those around her sang her praises because she was supporting them, and plying them with bathtubs full of potato salad and sandwiches. In the end, she did no damage to anyone, and was a much appreciated patroness of the arts.

To make her story riveting and alternately joyous and tearful is director Stephen Frears‘ gift. He worked the same magic with Philomena starring Judy Dench, and The Queen, starring Helen Mirren, both also based on true stories. It would be easy to write in my Florence Foster Jenkins review, “If you liked those films, you’ll love this one.” But I think Florence Foster Jenkins has enough heart for a much broader audience. Anyone, even the most outrageous SnapChat sensation, will find something to love. After all, that familiar message of  “You can achieve anything if you just be yourself” comes through loud and clear.

Rated PG 13

1 Hour 50 Minutes

Get times and tickets at Fandango.com


FLORENCE FOSTER JENKINS Review — An Early Oscar Contender

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Lisa Johnson Mandell

Lisa Johnson Mandell

Lisa Johnson Mandell is an award winning journalist, author and film/TV critic. She can be heard regularly on Cumulus radio stations throughout the US, and on BBC Radio.


  1. Rick Schwab on September 2, 2016 at 11:36 am

    You may be pleased to know that each Friday when I want an opinion of the new movies coming out, your website is always my “go to” website for that information. Happy Labor Day!

    Have you ever considered sending out a link each Friday to those who might sign up for a weekly email from you?

    • Lisa Johnson Lisa Johnson on September 3, 2016 at 1:34 pm

      Thanks so much! I’m thrilled to know that someone out there likes me (or at least my reviews). Your email idea is a good one. I’ll look into it.

  2. Lisa N on September 15, 2016 at 12:28 pm

    Lisa, I just saw Florence Foster Jenkins last night. I laughed so hard that my diaphragm still hurts today! What a funny, charming movie. I have no idea how Meryl Streep pulled off all of that off-pitch singing. If I need to dress up for a costume party any time soon, I may go as Florence.

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