When Meryl Streep opens her mouth to sing, we’re used to hearing good sounds. There was that stirring rendition of The Winner Takes It All in Mamma Mia!, followed up by her Oscar nomination for Stephen Sondheim musical Into the Woods. But in her new film, she’s playing one of the most appalling singers in history.
Florence Foster Jenkins – dubbed the world’s worst vocalist – was born in 1868, a child prodigy on the piano who lost her livelihood when an army injury left her unable to play.
Instead she dreamed of becoming an opera singer… despite lacking any natural talent. Played by Streep, Foster Jenkins didn’t let a little thing like not being able to sing get in the way of her bid for stardom and, aided by her husband, actor St Clair Bayfield (Hugh Grant), embarked upon a career.
We don’t hear her sing in this first trailer but Florence did enjoy a brief notoriety – although not necessarily for the right reasons. And yes, that is The Big Bang Theory’s Simon Helberg playing her long-suffering piano accompanist…