Florence Foster Jenkins

September 24, 2016

“Music is serious” quips a music critic for the New York Post to rebuke the charade that is forged to maintain the appearance of legitimacy of a wealthy woman fulfilling her dreams of performing at Carnegie Hall. And what can immediately be insinuated from this context is the lack of genuine merit in her performing, and rather, the entire forgery was smithed with gold. It is to the dismay of many in society, who unfortunately certify themselves as an outsider to wealth and reject its attainment out of some form of self-affirmation, that the world is run on the survival instincts of man. And that, people, will suck at the teet of many unscrupulous souls simply to avoid the harshness of toil; that it is a much more pleasurable life to lead pretending a wealthy woman has talent in opera than risking the loss of a monthly pension and apartment paid for by being honest.

On the one hand, it is ostensibly deplorable that such a dichotomy is often chosen toward falsehood. That the nature of human existence makes webs of deception common to be to entangled. That, then, money is hastily condemned as the root of all evil because of how it sways what is real over what is possible. Of course, such falsity can in certain instances lead to deleterious effects on society; but this true story of a woman who was simply terrible at performing what she loves falsifies the absolute condemnation of all such pretensions of fraud. As in, what harm was actually done with bribing audiences to enjoy her concerts?

True, if she had the spirit of an artist she would appreciate the confrontation of honesty as a means of improving her actual quality. In my opinion, she would not have suffered from an honest criticism, despite the films over a dramatic instance of her exposure to one poor review of her against the backdrop of the numerously cajoled and bribed positive expositions. At that point, however, it is past the point of no return. A person leading a life with a perspective so believed to be one way, in this case, her genuine talent at opera, cannot sincerely cope with the sudden realization that her dream is anything but the sort.

She died with such ignorance and with it the end of the support of the architecture of prevarication that subsidized her fantasy. The film makes a point to end with the summary of what the pivotal characters in her musical act did after her life; and it frankly was not much, with even the pianist abandoning his pursuit of music altogether. To live a lie, then, achieves nothing but defrauding a human from leading an authentic life; self-evident, of course, but from a spiritual perspective, the value of actualizing an authenticity ought to be valued as creating a more authentic world and hence forth a better one. One wherein man has a choice to be subservient to his base desires of subsistence, as in the case of feasting off of the Florence Foster Jenkins trust or to overcome it and lead a more honorable life, even if it is a more painful one. Yes, to be redundant with my previous writing, surviving the pain must have some intrinsic meaning, which it seldom has; this film then most deeply elaborates of the cross roads of the human path to living: To be or not to be more than an animal.


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