Florence Foster Jenkins: what is Stephen Frears’ “Marguerite” worth? [critique]

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Trailer of Florence Foster Jenkins, the "Marguerite" by Stephen Frears
Pathé / Memento

Meryl Streep sings as out of tune as Catherine Frot, the video proof.

In January 2015, we learned that Meryl Streep was going to portray Florence Foster Jenkins in an official biopic of Stephen frears. We wondered then who was going to sing the most wrong between the American actress and the French Catherine frot, who had just turned Daisy, under the direction of Xavier Giannoli, a feature film inspired by the same singer.

On the occasion of the screening of the film, also worn by Hugh grant and Rebecca ferguson, this Sunday on Arte (followed by a documentary on Maria Callas), here is the review of First.

Stephen Frear
Pathé / Memento

It is impossible not to compare the two, since Daisy was already inspired by the fate of the New York singer of the 1920s. The two trailers share entire scenes. “Music is my life”, said Meryl Streep in the introduction of the video, where Catherine frot explained “It’s only music that matters to me”. The two women also justify that they “work hard” to become singers. One or two hours a day for the first and four or five for the second. The challenge of both films is the same: to organize a performance on stage, in front of an audience. The tone too, alternating between comedy and drama: the singers are unaware of their lack of talent and their relatives do not dare to talk to them about it. On the contrary, they support them in their project, knowing that they risk suffering if the public laughs at them once in concert.

So ? Florence foster jenkins is it outright a remake of Daisy, who offered to Catherine frot the César for best actress (she also sang on stage to celebrate!) ? “The poster says ‘You never heard that’, but that’s a bit of a lie, wrote Frédéric Foubert in First when it was released in July 2016, given that Xavier Giannoli already told the same story in Marguerite: that of this wealthy socialite who gave concerts without realizing that she was bawling like the Castafiore … Filmmaker of the scam and the imposture (like Giannoli), Stephen Frears, however, seeks less harshness here than feel-good benevolence, at the risk of sentimentality. But we find his sense of irony in a moral as twisted as that of The Program (his recent portrayal of Lance Armstrong): whether you are doped with EPO or you sing like a pan, the main thing is that the show continues. “

As for Marguerite’s criticism, it is there:

Marguerite, with Catherine Frot, makes you want to love this great romantic [critique]

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