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Thank God for Meryl Streep (or: a little joy amid the gloom)

We all know that a motion picture takes years to produce, and that its release date is determined months, if not years, in advance. Still, it feels strangely percipient that "Florence Foster Jenkins," the new Meryl Streep movie about this most hilarious and weirdly lovable of characters, is opening just now. Just now--as America is in the throes of its most painful racial divisiveness in decades, in this most disturbing political climate, this horrifying era of terrorism. Just when we need a tiny break.

I can't wait to see this movie. On "Rotten Tomatoes" the international reviews (U.S. release is August 12th) are ecstatic: "ridiculously watchable" (Time Out), "an audience picture first and foremost" (Variety), "masterful simplicity" (The Wrap) and on and on.

I've always loved Streep's silly side--her ability to rise above and beyond whatever petty (and not so petty), grimly serious preoccupations are currently extant and tug us with her into a land of unalloyed fun. She never makes it feel like escapism, but it's certainly an escape.

And boy do we need one, right about now. Just for a couple of hours, in a movie theatre, between the vitriolic speeches and mass shooting memorials, amidst the fear for our lives and for our country. We'll get back to all that soon enough. But for now... thanks, Meryl. We owe you another one.

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