The film is often times hilarious, but also heartwarming as a story of true love, loyalty, and devotion. Hugh Grant (Music and Lyrics) plays Jenkins's loving husband, providing for her but also living a double life. As St Clair Bayfield, Grant is dramatic around his costar but playful around the other characters. The two roles suit him well and I cannot remember a performance by Grant that I liked as much as this one. The other stand-out star in this film is Simon Helberg (The Big Bang Theory) as Cosme McMoon. McMoon was Jenkins's piano accompanist, which was clearly an odd setup for McMoon. Helberg brings the awkward relationship that the two "musicians" had throughout their time together. Towards the beginning of the film, Helberg steals the show through his comic delivery and facial expressions. He fits perfectly into the shoes of his character, overacting to get the audience roaring for more of his screentime.
In a film about such a famous singer, it is important to realize the soundtrack accompanying the imagery. Streep brings out a new voice in her portrayal of Jenkins. Listening to recordings of Jenkins, Streep sounds almost exactly like her. This is one of Streep's best performances in any role I have seen. It is also an extremely painful performance to watch, but somehow I could listen to Streep sing like this for over an hour and still find it hilarious. The original music written for the film is a complete contradiction to Florence's voice. Alexandre Desplat (The King's Speech, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Argo, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows) once again creates a score that fits the setting of a bustling New York in the early 1900s. Desplat's score is dramatic and retrospective, bringing out the gravitas of the film.
The Bottom Line: This film is painfully hilarious and fantastically flat.