Florence Foster Jenkins, Manchester by the Sea

Gordon and I drove over to Beverly Hills today to see a screening of Florence Foster Jenkins. The problem with BH is it takes a long time to get across town. It also costs a fortune to park and, of course, we had to have popcorn and a soda so our ‘free’ movie cost us $32. What the hell; I loved the movie. FFJ is about a rich, music-loving woman. She contributed lots of money to the New York classical music scene. Unfortunately, she thought she could sing. Meryl Streep plays Florence and she’s incredible. When she started singing as Florence I was whooping with laughter. Then when they described Florence’s background I had tears. I won’t go into detail because I don’t want to spoil anything but it’s very moving. I was totally impressed with Streep’s performance. Do you know how good you have to be to sing that badly? She sings an aria at the end as a coloratura and she actually pulls it off even though I think she’s a mezzo. Wonderful. Hugh Grant plays her husband and I think this is the best thing I’ve ever seen him do. Totally believable and sympathetic. The guy who plays Wolowitz on Big Bang Theory plays the accompanist and he’s great too (wish I could remember his name; he’ll always be Wolowitz to me–there are worse things). And a special shout-out to the actress who plays Agnes, the culture vulture’s trashy wife. Her performance is priceless. All the actors are great. Loved the movie. Even worth $16 to park.

Manchester by the Sea is a mood piece. There are moments of laughter and tragedy but I thought it meandered. I know this is supposed to be a slice of life but when I’m watching a movie I want a point to be made. Or is the point that some hurts are too deep to heal? Is it that even when all hope seems to be gone there is still a tiny glimmer? And is there a glimmer? And me I’m wondering if there’s a point to life at all the point? Hmmmm. Casey Afleck gives a subdued but powerful performance and I see why he got the nomination. I mentioned that the movie meandered but Gordon never fell asleep once. No z’s on the snore scale so that says something.

On to the next movie.


About Barbara Schnell

I've dedicated my life to full-time employment avoidance. I've been an actress, renovated a 1921 California Bungalow, set a cash-winning record on $25,000 Pyramid, and came in last on Jeopardy. I live in Los Angeles with my patient husband and two cats.
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