#Tea & Talkies: Florence Foster Jenkins

Last Monday (12th September), Millman Street Community Centre members were once again treated to a trip to the Warner Brothers cinema, this time to see Florence Foster Jenkins, starring Meryl Streep, Hugh Grant and Simon Helberg (probably best known for his portrayal of Howard in the long-running The Big Bang Theory TV show).

Set during WW2, Florence Foster Jenkins is the true story of a woman who believes herself to be a great opera singer, and who is tragi-comically oblivious to the fact that she cannot sing (to put it mildly).  As she was rich, she was able to employ a professional pianist (Helberg) and hire out Carnegie Hall for her peculiar performances.

“It was fantastic,” said David.  “She [Florence] had a good sense of humour.  She sang for the [US] Navy in Miami,” he added, with sailors laughing and giggling at her attempts to sing.

“The press put it about that she was a bad singer,” David continued.  “Her husband [Grant] bought up and tried to hide newspapers,” in an attempt to save her from reading negative reviews.  She suffered from syphilis, causing her relationship with Grant’s character to remain platonic, while he apparently found solace in affairs elsewhere.

“She hired Carnegie Hall,” Fred said.  “And she left money in her will for the piano player, who was a brilliant pianist.”

“It was good,” Helena said.  “Very good.  I enjoyed it.”

“It was funny,” Margaret said.  We were laughing when she started singing.  I  couldn’t stop laughing myself.  A lady in the cinema set me off laughing!  It sounded like she [Streep] was laying an egg!”

“Hugh Grant egged her on and got people to come and watch,” she added.  “She bought all the tickets for the soldiers and airmen at Carnegie Hall.”

Volunteer Sam enjoyed what she saw of the film, but had to leave when an overseas guest unexpectedly phoned her up during the performance.  According to Steve, “Hugh Grant stole the film.”

HCA would like to thank our friends at Warner Brothers cinema for providing our members with yet another free film, and of course for tea and cakes afterwards.

Report by Notes Smudger

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