Ricki and the Flash

"Very Good"

Ricki and the Flash Review


Meryl Streep is having so much fun playing an ageing rocker that the audience only barely registers that this film isn't nearly as deep as it's pretending to be. There are some very nice observations about the messy ties that hold families together, as well as the fragility of dreams, but the real draw here is seeing Streep tearing up the screen, whether she's singing rock-n-roll classics or indulging in some spirited on-screen drama with her real-life daughter Mamie Gummer.

Streep plays Ricki, who has ended up singing in a shady Los Angeles bar with her on-off boyfriend Greg (Rick Springfield) and their band The Flash. Then she gets a call from her ex-husband Pete (Kevin Kline) saying that their daughter Julie (Gummer) has fallen into a deep depression and needs her mom. So Ricki heads home to Indianapolis, where she also has to face her two sons (Nick Westrate and Sebastian Stan), both of whom feel like they've been ignored by their childish mother and don't want much to do with her. So as she helps Julie cheer up, she's dealing with her sons, clashing with Pete's wife Maureen (Audra McDonald) and wondering why she's so reluctant about settling down with Greg.

None of this is terribly complicated, but the script is by Diablo Cody, who won an Oscar for Juno and also wrote the similarly themed Young Adult. She packs the dialogue with barbed wit that slices right to the core of these characters, bringing out crisp insights and dark emotions. The character interaction is often magical, including Streep's reignited chemistry with Kline (they first sparked together more than 30 years ago in Sophie's Choice). Her scenes with Gummer have an effortless crackle of authenticity, as do her biting chats with McDonald. In fact, the only weak moments are her off-stage scenes with Springfield, who expresses himself better with a guitar in his hands.

In other words, even though the film never feels terribly revelatory, it is packed with little emotional timebombs that are seriously engaging. Watching these people navigate their disappointments and perceived betrayals is fascinating, mainly because we can identify with everyone in some way. And the script makes some punchy observations too, including a gentle depiction of how life rarely plays out in the way we hope it will. How old, deep wounds take time to heal. And how children don't have to love their parents, but parents don't have a choice about loving their kids.

Rich Cline

Watch the trailer for Ricki And The Flash here:




Ricki and the Flash

Facts and Figures

Genre: Dramas

Run time: 101 mins

In Theaters: Friday 7th August 2015

Box Office USA: $6.6M

Distributed by: Sony Pictures

Production compaines: Columbia TriStar, Clinica Estetico, LStar Capital

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 61%
Fresh: 70 Rotten: 45

IMDB: 6.3 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: Mason Novick,

Starring: as Ricki, as Pete Brummel, as Julie, Ben Platt as Daniel, as Greg, as Joshua, as Maureen, as Oma, Nick Westrate as Adam Brummel

Also starring: ,

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