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Digital Subscriptions > Attitude > Issue 270 > The Greatest

The Greatest

Meryl Streep returns to the screen as Florence Foster Jenkins, a reallife society hostess, who thought she could sing but couldn’t. Streep’s impersonation is as exact as always. Attitude looks back at the career of the woman said by many to be the most talented female actor in the world

The big news is that Meryl Streep has agreed to play Elvis in a new movie about the legendary Jailhouse Rock singer’s life. Actually, that’s not true. But it’s a headline that few would be surprised to read. After all, Streep can do anything. She can play hero and villain, comedy and tragedy, and every part from a male rabbi to Margaret Thatcher. She can also sing everything from ABBA to opera, and in her new film, in which she plays dreadful diva Florence Foster Jenkins, Streep pretends to sing badly so convincingly that some people at the press screening assumed that Jenkins’ real voice, heard over the end credits, was Streep’s. What makes acting “good” is very much a matter of personal preference: Katharine Hepburn thought Streep was too technical. But even if she isn’t to your taste, you’ll probably admit to her versatility. If you won’t, you’re in a minority.

DONNA IN MAMMA MIA!

Streep has been the subject of about half-a-dozen books. If popularity can be judged by Academy Award nominations Streep is, along with Bette Davis and the aforementioned Katharine Hepburn, one of the three greatest actresses in screen history. But whereas Davis received 10 nods and Hepburn 12, Streep has already had 19. And, as she’s said herself, she’s a long way from retirement. During a 40-year screen career, she’s made a few duds. But from 1978 she’s always been bankable and, late in her career, she starred in one of the biggest British box-office hits of all time. This was also one of the campest films ever made. Streep is no stranger to camp. We’ll come back to that.

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About Attitude

From EastEnders to X-Men! Ben Hardy returns to Attitude for his second cover feature, fresh off the set of hotly anticipated superhero film X-Men: Apocalypse. Inside, we present a special report on gay racism, looking at how Black, Asian and ethnic minorities are represented in the gay community, scene and media. We also interview Olivier award-winning Matt Henry from hit musical Kinky Boots, Alexander Vlahos who plays the gay prince in new BBC series Versailles, and feature a photo exclusive from hot new book Why Drag? Plus, in praise of the legendary Meryl Streep, and a look at the contentious issue of pinkwashing and Tel Aviv Pride.
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