I recently saw the Florence Foster Jenkins film about the singer who really couldn't sing, starring Meryl Streep and Hugh Grant. Really a sweet film, they both do an excellent job. Meryl is amazing as always. No one else could pull off this role as effectively as she does. It takes a lot of artistic courage to sing that badly, in front of millions, and in fact is quite difficult to do as convincingly as she does.
The movie was surprisingly sympathetic to a character that could have easily come across as a pathetic loser. Instead Ms. Streep manages to make her seem strong, tough, human, determined, and quite a fascinating character.
Her pianist in the film was none other than the very fine actor and musician Simon Helberg. Mr. Helberg is also on the hit TV series, The Big Bang Theory, but is almost unrecognizable in this role. He actually plays the piano in the film, at a very high, concert-level quality, and overall does a terrific job in the part.
For an admitted non-singer, Ms. Streep certainly loves to tackle films where she is indeed singing for part or a good portion of the role. I'm thinking of Mama Mia! The Movie, Ricky and the Flash, Into the Woods, and this film. They all had her singing, and she does it very well, except for Florence Foster Jenkins where it was deliberately bad.
"People may say I can't sing, but no one can ever say I didn't sing," Florence Foster Jenkins' once remarked to a friend, and Ms. Streep says as much in the film. The movie is a surprisingly touching one, and says a lot without really trying about ambition, loyalty, relationships, artistic integrity, and life in the arts. It moved me much more than I thought it would.
On another matter, I recently dined at The Society Kitchen, a brand new restaurant in Santa Monica on Ocean Park Blvd. This new restaurant is run by the same folks that own the nearby Crimson restaurant, another health-conscious, delicious restaurant I love. These folks really know how to run a restaurant!
At The Society Kitchen, I ordered the pizza with butternut squash, spinach, and fresh cheese, and it was buttery, hot, delicious, and melted in my mouth. All the ingredients at The Society Kitchen are fresh, organic, and gluten free is available. Yet they do have the diet sodas and cupcake treats mere mortals like my husband and I like to enjoy. The restaurant is not crowded, and there is ample parking at least at night when I visited. Give it a whirl before everyone else discovers it and they get mobbed!