Cary, NC — Ricki and the Flash comes from the director of The Silence of the Lambs and the writer of Juno. That’s an odd pair, yes? Well, it turns out the pairing works quite well, and, thanks to another great performance from Meryl Streep, Ricki and the Flash is a touching dram-edy filled with heart, humor and really good music.
Great Script, Great Characters
Streep plays Linda, aka Ricki, a middle-aged frontwoman to a local bar band in California. Years ago, Ricki left her husband and three kids to pursue her dream of being a musician, and, purposefully or not, became a recluse to her family until her daughter faces a personal crisis and is suddenly dragged back into her life.
I am a really big fan of the film’s writer, Diablo Cody. Besides the aforementioned Juno, Cody wrote the sharp and painfully hilarious Young Adult starring Charlize Theron. Ricki isn’t as biting or dark as that film, but it does cast a fair and judgement-free portrait of its lead character.
It sounds like Ricki wouldn’t be very likable or interesting, but Cody shapes a character that is both believable and undeniably human who is dealing with past and present mistakes and, perhaps, the realization that her dream is over.
Streep is, Once Again, Incredible
It’s a great part, and, of course, Streep milks it for all it’s worth. Again, this character is walking a very fine line between likeable and unlikable, but Streep is a master, and she gradually gets the audience on her side – at least enough for them to understand her.
In the role of Streep’s emotionally wrecked daughter is Mamie Gummer, who just so happens to be Meryl Streep’s daughter in real life, and she’s great. The fact that she actually looks like her mother only adds to the chemistry of their relationship, which, in the film, is strained at best. But the two have an undeniable chemistry, adding a great deal of heart to the film.
In a somewhat surprising turn, Rick Springfield (yes, that Rick Springfield) does quite a good job as Ricki’s lead guitar player/boyfriend. It’s a smaller part in the movie, but he makes the most with what he’s given, becoming the voice of reason for Ricki.
Who knew he could hold his own against Meryl?
Ricki & the Flash is Worth It
One of the things that really struck me about Ricki and the Flash is that, ultimately, there isn’t an easy ending, much like life. Some things are worked out, but most aren’t. Family is family, and, in that aspect, the end of the film rings most true.
It’s a happy ending, yes, but it’s also an honest one. That, and, of course, Meryl, is more than enough of a reason to give Ricki and the Flash a shot.