Florence Foster Jenkins (film)

Florence Foster Jenkins

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Stephen Frears
Produced by
Written by Nicholas Martin
Music by Alexandre Desplat
Cinematography Danny Cohen
Edited by Valerio Bonelli
Distributed by
Release dates
  • 23 April 2016 (2016-04-23) (Belfast Film Festival)
  • 6 May 2016 (2016-05-06) (United Kingdom)
  • 13 July 2016 (2016-07-13) (France)
Running time
110 minutes[1]
  • United Kingdom
  • France
Language English
Budget $29 million[2]
Box office $44.3 million[2]

Florence Foster Jenkins is a 2016 British-French 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 plays her husband and manager, English Shakespearean actor, St. Clair Bayfield. Other cast members include Simon Helberg, Nina Arianda and Rebecca Ferguson.

Filming began in May 2015, and the premiere was held in London on 12 April 2016.[3][4] The film was released on 6 May 2016 in the United Kingdom, 13 July in France and 12 August in the United States.


Florence Foster Jenkins (Meryl Streep) is a New York City heiress and socialite who founded the Verdi Club to celebrate a passionate love for opera and music. As it is 1944 and the U.S. is in the midst of World War II, Florence is of the opinion that "music matters more than ever." English Shakespearean actor, St. Clair Bayfield (Hugh Grant), is her husband and manager. Despite being married, Florence and Bayfield live in separate residences. She has an apartment in the city while he resides in a house with his secret mistress, Kathleen Weatherley (Rebecca Ferguson). Florence suffers from a long-term case of syphilis, which she contracted from her first husband. The illness has caused her to have various health problems and she takes medications that have toxic side effects, such as mercury and arsenic. Due to the fear of passing the disease on to Bayfield, her current marriage is chaste, and Bayfield fulfills his sexual urges with Kathleen.

Florence decides to resume her singing lessons, of which she has neglected. She hires pianist Cosmé McMoon (Simon Helberg) and introduces him to her vocal coach, Carlo Edwards (David Haig), the assistant conductor at the Metropolitan Opera. McMoon is shocked to discover that Florence is a terrible singer, yet Bayfield and Edwards pretend she is wonderful, the former giving McMoon a dire warning not to criticize her.

Bayfield makes arrangements for a small recital, hand picking people allowed to buy tickets. On the night of the performance, loyal members of the Verdi Club sit respectfully, but others can barely contain their laughter. Feeling encouraged by her recital’s good reviews, she makes a recording of her singing as a Christmas gift for the Verdi Club. Florence gives McMoon a copy of the record, which leads to her recalling how Bayfield was not always a very successful actor and she would hide negative reviews to protect his feelings. She also informs McMoon of her history as a piano player and teacher, having once played for the President as a child. McMoon realizes at this moment that Florence is not as musically inept as he had thought, strengthening their friendship.

Florence and McMoon write and perform original songs together, one of which gets airtime on the radio, much to the shock and horror of Bayfield and Kathleen, despite many listeners finding much enjoyment from her music, believing it to be comedic. With this burst in popularity, Florence informs Bayfield that she has booked Carnegie Hall for a one night performance and will give away a thousand tickets to soldiers. Bayfield tries to talk her out of it, but fails. With Bayfield stressed over the impending performance, which culminates into him getting into a fight with a group of men listening and laughing at Florence and McMoon's song at a bar, Kathleen cannot put up with the lack of attention and leaves him. McMoon confides to Bayfield that he fears that the recital will humiliate him to the point of ruining his career. Bayfield replies that he gave up his acting career to support his wife and urges McMoon to possibly do the same for the sake of his friend. McMoon agrees, elated that he will at least get to play at Carnegie Hall.

The concert is packed and attended by the likes of Cole Porter and Tallulah Bankhead. When Florence begins singing, the soldiers laugh and jeer. Her supporters and loyal friends, however, scold them and then cheer for her to keep singing. She happily continues her performance. Meanwhile, an editor for the New York Post, refuses to continue listening, promising a desperate Bayfield that he will write a damning review of the recital.

Bayfield, with McMoon's help, goes to great lengths so that she only receives good reviews by buying every copy of the New York Post in the vicinity and throwing them away. After being given sarcastically patronizing comments about her performance alluding to the New York Post's review by a pair of young men, Florence is driven to find a copy of the review in a trash can and is upset to the point of collapse. As she is dying in bed, Bayfield by her side, Florence envisions herself dressed as an angel and singing beautiful opera. She imagines that she, McMoon and Bayfield all take a triumphant bow to a standing ovation. She points out proudly that even though people can say she could not sing, no one can say she did not sing. Peacefully, she dies.




On 21 October 2014, Variety reported that Stephen Frears would next direct a biopic, Florence, scripted by Nicholas Martin, about famous opera singer Florence Foster Jenkins.[5] Meryl Streep was set to play Jenkins, while Hugh Grant was set to play stage actor St. Clair Bayfield, Jenkins' partner and manager.[5] Michael Kuhn and Tracey Seaward were set to produce the film; Pathé financed, and handled the film's sales at the American Film Market.[5]

In November 2014, the film was sold to international distributors, and Pathé was set to distribute the film in the United Kingdom, France, and Switzerland.[9]


On 27 March 2015, Simon Helberg was set to play Cosmé McMoon, a pianist and the accompanist to Jenkins.[6] Rebecca Ferguson was added to the cast on 1 April 2015.[7] On 13 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.[8]


Principal photography on the film began in May 2015 in London.[9] Pathé released a first-look photo on 22 May, featuring Streep and Grant as Jenkins and Bayfield, respectively.[10] Filming was done in Hoylake and near Liverpool city centre.[11]

On 15 June, Grant and Ferguson were spotted filming in a resort in New Brighton, Merseyside.[12] Filming had also been done in Liverpool, and the city was transformed into 1940s New York City, with Liverpool's Drury Lane street being turned into Central Park West, where Streep and Grant were spotted filming in June 2015.[13] Production concluded on 20 July 2015.[14]


In September 2015, Paramount Pictures acquired U.S distribution rights to the film.[15] The film had its world premiere at the Belfast Film Festival on April 23, 2016.[16] The film was theatrically released in the United Kingdom on 6 May 2016[17][18] and in the United States on 12 August 2016.[19][20]

Home media

Florence Foster Jenkins will be released on Digital HD on November 29, 2016[21] and on Blu-ray and DVD on December 13, 2016.[22]


Box office

As of 2 October 2016, Florence Foster Jenkins has grossed $27.3 million in North America and $17 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $44.3 million.[2]

In the United States and Canada, Florence Foster Jenkins was released on 12 August 2016, against Pete's Dragon and Sausage Party, and was projected to gross $5–7 million from 1,500 theaters in its opening weekend.[23] It went on to open to $6.6 million, finishing 8th at the box office.[24]

Critical response

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 87%, based on 175 reviews, with an average rating of 7/10. The performances of Streep, Grant, and Helberg received particular praise as well as the screenplay and the warmth tone of the film. 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."[25] On Metacritic, the film has a score of 71 out of 100, based on 41 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[26] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A–" on an A+ to F scale.[27]

Wai Chee Dimock, writing in the Los Angeles Review of Books, linked the film to Hamlet and The Magic Flute, saying that the film "is neither tragedy nor farce, but a passable admixture of the two, defining both negatively."[28]


List of awards and nominations
Award Date of ceremony Category Recipient(s) Result Ref(s)
Critics' Choice Awards December 11, 2016 Best Actor in a Comedy Hugh Grant Pending [29]
Best Actress in a Comedy Meryl Streep Pending
Best Costume Design Consolata Boyle Pending
European Film Awards December 10, 2016 Best Actor Hugh Grant Pending [30]
Evening Standard British Film Awards December 8, 2016 Best Actor Hugh Grant Pending [31]
Technical Achievement Consolata Boyle (costume design) Pending
Hollywood Film Awards November 6, 2016 Hollywood Supporting Actor Award Hugh Grant Won [32]
Santa Barbara International Film Festival February 3, 2017 Virtuosos Award Simon Helberg Won [33]
Satellite Awards February 19, 2017 Best Actress Meryl Streep Pending [34]
Best Supporting Actor Hugh Grant Pending

See also


  1. "FLORENCE FOSTER JENKINS (PG)". British Board of Film Classification. 11 March 2016. Retrieved 11 March 2016.
  2. 1 2 3 "Florence Foster Jenkins (2016)". The Numbers. Retrieved 3 October 2016.
  3. "Florence Foster Jenkins London premiere April 12". simplystreep.com. Retrieved 25 August 2016.
  4. "London premiere of Florence Foster Jenkins". starwatchbyline.com. Retrieved 25 August 2016.
  5. 1 2 3 4 5 McNary, Dave (21 October 2014). "Meryl Streep, Hugh Grant Teaming on 'Florence' Opera Story". variety.com. Retrieved 6 April 2015.
  6. 1 2 Fleming Jr, Mike (27 March 2015). "'Big Bang's Simon Helberg Is Meryl Streep's Pianist In Stephen Frears-Directed 'Florence Foster Jenkins'". deadline.com. Retrieved 6 April 2015.
  7. 1 2 Jaafar, Ali (1 April 2015). "Rebecca Ferguson Joins Cast Of Stephen Frears' 'Florence Foster Jenkins'". deadline.com. Retrieved 6 April 2015.
  8. 1 2 Gerard, Jeremy (13 April 2015). "Nina Arianda Cast In Stephen Frears' 'Florence Foster Jenkins' With Meryl Streep". deadline.com. Retrieved 9 July 2015.
  9. 1 2 Ritman, Alex (12 November 2014). "AFM: Meryl Streep, Hugh Grant Drama Sells Wide". hollywoodreporter.com. Retrieved 6 April 2015.
  10. Tartaglione, Nancy (22 May 2015). "Meryl Streep & Hugh Grant In 'Florence Foster Jenkins' – First-Look Photo". deadline.com. Retrieved 8 July 2015.
  11. POCKLINGTON, REBECCA (15 June 2015). "Hugh Grant transforms as he joins Meryl Streep and Rebecca Ferguson to film Florence Foster Jenkins". Daily Mirror. Retrieved 9 July 2015.
  12. "Hugh Grant films steamy scenes with co-star Rebecca Ferguson as they get into character on set of passionate new movie". dailymail.co.uk. 16 June 2015. Retrieved 9 July 2015.
  13. MILES, TINA (17 June 2015). "Exclusive: Hugh Grant and Meryl Streep film together in Liverpool". liverpoolecho.co.uk. Retrieved 9 July 2015.
  14. "On the Set for 7/20/15: Daniel Radcliffe Starts Shooting 'Swiss Army Men', Meryl Streep Finishes 'Florence Foster Jenkins'". SSN Insider. 20 July 2015. Retrieved 7 August 2016.
  15. Fleming Jr, Mike (12 September 2015). "BIG Deal: Paramount Nabs 'Florence Foster Jenkins' With Streep, Grant – Toronto". Deadline.com. Retrieved 27 April 2016.
  16. "Florence Foster Jenkins". Belfast Film Festival. Retrieved 27 April 2016.
  17. Evans, Greg (12 March 2016). "'Florence Foster Jenkins' Trailer: Meryl Streep Movie Hits Funnier Notes Than 'Marguerite'". Deadline.com. Retrieved 27 April 2016.
  18. West, Amy (26 April 2016). "Florence Foster Jenkins: Meryl Streep and Hugh Grant star in new vintage-style character posters". International Business Times. Retrieved 27 April 2016.
  19. D'Alessandro, Anthony (11 April 2016). "Paramount Dates 'Florence Foster Jenkins', 'Ben-Hur' Moves, Brad Pitt WWII Spy Film Titled 'Allied' – CinemaCon". Deadline.com. Retrieved 27 April 2016.
  20. Evry, Max (27 April 2016). "Meryl Streep in New Florence Foster Jenkins Trailer and Poster". Comingsoon.net. Retrieved 27 April 2016.
  21. "Florence Foster Jenkins (2016)". DVD Release Dates. Retrieved 14 October 2016.
  22. "Florence Foster Jenkins (2016)". On DVD Releases.
  23. "'Suicide Squad' Secures Record Monday Haul For August, Eyes $51M-$54M In 2nd Weekend – B.O. Preview". deadline.com.
  24. "'Sausage Party' Raises Its Heat To $33.6M In 2nd, Burning 'Sui". deadline.com.
  25. "Florence Foster Jenkins (2016)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved September 22, 2016.
  26. "Florence Foster Jenkins reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 26 August 2016.
  27. "CinemaScore". cinemascore.com.
  28. "The Queen of the Night sings Hamlet".
  29. "La La Land Leads with 12 Nominations for the 22nd Annual Critics' Choice Awards". Critics' Choice. December 1, 2016. Retrieved December 1, 2016.
  30. "European Film Awards Announce Best Film Nominees". Variety. November 5, 2016. Retrieved November 5, 2016.
  31. Moore, William (November 17, 2016). "Evening Standard British Film Awards - The Longlist". London Evening Standard. Retrieved November 29, 2016.
  32. "Nicole Kidman, Hugh Grant, Naomie Harris and Lily Collins to be Honored". Hollywood Film Awards. October 21, 2016. Retrieved November 2, 2016.
  33. "Santa Barbara International Film Festival 2017 Virtuosos Award". Santa Barbara International Film Festival. Retrieved November 29, 2016.
  34. Kilday, Gregg (November 29, 2016). "Satellite Awards Nominees Revealed". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved November 29, 2016.

External links

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