Florence Foster Jenkins


The Film

Florence Foster Jenkins is a 2016 biographical comedy-drama film directed by Stephen Frears and written by Nicholas Martin. The film stars Meryl Streep as Florence Foster Jenkins, a New York heiress who became an opera singer known for her painful lack of singing skill. Hugh Grant co-stars, and supporting cast members includeSimon Helberg, Nina Arianda and Rebecca Ferguson.

Filming began in May 2015, and the premiere was held in London on 12 April 2016. The film was released on 6th May 2016 in the United Kingdom, 13th July in France and 12th August in the United States.

Cinema Trailer




On 21st October 2014, Variety reported that Stephen Frears would next direct a biopic Florence, scripted by Nicholas Martin, about Florence Foster Jenkins, a famous opera singer. Meryl Streep was set to play Jenkins while Hugh Grant was set to play stage actor St. Clair Bayfield, Jenkins' partner and manager. Michael Kuhn and Tracey Seaward would produce the film, which Pathé would finance and handle the sales at American Film Market.

In November 2014, the film was sold to international distributors, and Pathé obtaiuned the rights to distribute the film in the United Kingdom, France, and Switzerland.


Simon Helberg was set on 27th March 2015 to play Cosmé McMoon, pianist, and the accompanist to Jenkins. Rebecca Ferguson was added to the cast on 1st April 2015. On 13th April 2015, Nina Arianda joined the film to play Agnes Stark, a showgirl struggling to move up into high society with the help of her husband.


Principal photography on the film began in May 2015 in London. Pathé released a first-look photo on 22nd May, featuring Streep and Grant as Jenkins and Bayfield, respectively. Filming was undertaken in Hoylake and near Liverpool city centre.

On 15th June, Grant and Ferguson were spotted filming in New Brighton, Merseyside. In Liverpool, the city was transformed into the classic New York City. Liverpool's Drury Lane Street was transformed into Central Park West, where Streep and Grant were spotted filming in June 2015. Production concluded on 20th July 2015.


In September 2015, Paramount Pictures acquired US distribution rights to the film. The film had its world premiere at the Belfast Film Festival on 23rd April 2016. The film was released in the United Kingdom on 6th May 2016, 13th July in France and in the United States on 12th August

Critical Reception

Florence Foster Jenkins has been very well received by critics and cinemagoers alike. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 86%, making it one of the highest reviewed in the year. The site's critical consensus reads, "Florence Foster Jenkins makes poignant, crowd-pleasing dramedy out of its stranger-than-fiction tale – and does its subject justice with a reliably terrific turn from star Meryl Streep." On CinemaScore, audiences gave the film an average grade of "A–" on an A+ to F scale.


Meryl Streep as Florence Foster Jenkins
Hugh Grant as St. Clair Bayfield
Simon Helberg as Cosmé McMoon
Rebecca Ferguson as Kathleen Weatherley
Nina Arianda as Agnes Stark
John Kavanagh as Arturo Toscanini
David Haig as Carlo Edwards
Bríd Brennan as Kitty
Stanley Townsend as Phineas Stark
Allan Corduner as John Totten
Christian McKay as Earl Wilson
John Sessions as Dr. Hermann

IMDb Review

Florence Foster Jenkins is a wealthy New Yorker who lives for music. Her husband St. Clair enthusiastically indulges her passion: she sings for the musical appreciation club she has created, and they all love her.

The only thing is, well, she's not very good. But she's harmless and kind and tries her very best, so everyone (including her new pianist accompanist, Cosme McMoon) goes along with her. And she doesn't seem to be aware (or worried) about the fact that St. Clair spends every night at another apartment with his mistress.

Based on a real person, this film tells the story of a woman whose talent so woefully falls short of her ambition that the result is funny, yet she would be mortified if she realised that is what people actually thought. St. Clair cushions her from the unkindness which would otherwise come her way: this protects her, but also encourages her to push her (lack of) talent further, to the extent that she arranges a concert at Carnegie Hall which will inevitably expose her to press hostility.

We already knew Meryl Streep can sing; here we found out how brilliantly she can't sing, too: this is an hilarious portrait of someone who specialises in being half a tone out just when she needed not to be, who knows what technique ought to be but can't actually manage it (but thinks she can). This is Les Dawson piano playing, parlayed into operetta. She makes Florence wonderfully human.

I also loved Simon Helberg, going from Beatle-wigged nerd in The Big Band Theory to brilliantined accompanist with a very funny line in reaction shots. Oh, and the lad is not bad on piano either. There are some nice turns in the supporting cast, especially Nina Arianda as common-as-muck nouveau riche Brooklyn wife Agnes Stark.

But, for me, this film belonged to Hugh Grant. His quasi-aristocratic St. Clair, gracefully (for the most part) balancing his support for Florence with his parallel life with mistress Kathleen, it is a nuanced performance of humour, skill and kindness – I was never in doubt about how truly he loved Florence.

This was an excellent film.

Neil Welch