Extraordinarily, Marguerite is a second film based on the life of Florence Foster Jenkins (see previous posting here), dubbed ‘the worst singer in the world.’
This French version is ‘inspired’ by true events and takes considerable liberties. A wealthy French comtesse in the 1920s, Marguerite Dumont is certainly a terrible singer surrounded by sycophants and hypocrites. And a misconceived public recital leads to her death. But that’s about it in terms of following the life of the heiress and the plot of the ‘other’ film.
Directed by Xavier Giannoli (The Singer, In the Beginning), Marguerite is placed in the context of the emerging Dadaist art movement, lauded by some, abhorred by the establishment of which she is a part. Her obsession, bordering on madness, is superbly realised by award-winning Catherine Frot (The Page Turner, Haute Cuisine), oblivious as she is to the mutterings of her ‘friends’ to her off-key voice.
Marguerite is a celebration of the music beloved by the comtesse. She may murder it, but others around her do not. The film itself outstays its welcome and slips dangerously close to farce towards the end, but its sumptuous telling of the story and superb performances outstrip anything offered up its ‘competition’.