The tragic comedy of Ms Florence Foster Jenkins will leave you in stitches. As like how her audience must have felt in the 30s.
Florence Foster Jenkins is a wealthy New York socialite with a great passion for music and performing. While she is pleasant and generous, she is oblivious to the fact that she is an utterly awful singer. To indulge her, Florence’s loving husband, St. Claire, hires pianist Cosmé McMoon when she decides to resume singing lessons, and applauds enthusiastically during her practices. His support turns out to be a mistake, as St. Claire quickly realises. To his horror, Florence decides to stage a recital at Carnegie Hall. She even intends to give away a thousand tickets to soldiers returning from WWII.
Prior to watching Florence Foster Jenkins, I spent an hour scouring the Net for information about this legendary (ahem) soprano. Throughout this, one question burnt furiously in my mind. Did the real Florence Foster Jenkins know how terrible her singing was? Did she have some sort of higher comprehension of music? Or was she, as a forummer scorned, no more than a rich indulgent woman with too much money and time on her hands?
The movie answered these questions with a firm no. An answer mostly told through extended scenes of Jenkins’ devoted husband energetically shielding her from mockers and deriders. There were also scenes of music professionals sucking up to her, which implied Jenkins was also kept in blissful ignorance for the sake of her patronage. Yet, as the story unfolded, it was simply impossible to believe she did not at least have a clue how awful her singing was. This contradiction didn’t make the movie baffling. Rather, it thickened the delicious mystery around the real Florence Foster Jenkins. At the same time, it encourages one to consider several questions. Questions like, what is love? What should true love for music be? Must one’s love for music be bridled, just because one can’t play an instrument like a virtuoso, or sing like one?
For the real Lady Florence, the answer was obviously a loud no.
Might I also add too that born today, Lady Florence would likely be worshiped by a huge cult following on YouTube and social media. She would enjoy a fan-base that would put most YT’s superstars to shame.
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Ahem! In the spirit of Lady Florence, may I invite you to visit my YouTube Channel. I assure you, you wouldn’t have to endure any form of awful singing.