Hi everyone, Bryan Here…
We’ve all come to know that Meryl Streep is one of the greatest actresses in the world. With each role she plays, she fully immerses herself into her character, which usually leads to Oscar nominations and wins. There almost isn’t a year that goes by where Streep isn’t nominated for something, and truth be told, she usually deserves it. Over the years, we’ve seen Streep play many roles, most of which are dramatic performances with a few comedic and musical roles thrown in for good measure. Hell, she even played a witch in ‘Into the Woods‘, but we’ve never seen Streep like this before in Jonathan Demme’s ‘Ricki and the Flash‘.
Written by Diablo Cody (‘Juno‘) and directed by Demme (‘Philadelphia‘ and ‘Silence of the Lambs‘), ‘Ricki and the Flash‘ plays out like a mix of a dramatic comedy and a concert film. It certainly is far from ‘Philadelphia‘ and ‘Silence of the Lambs‘ for sure, and tends to be a on the lighter side of emotions. Sometimes it tends to want to bang us over the head or pull our heartstrings out, but it never passes over that hump and comes across less than average in that aspect. It’s a shame to, because there is real talent here, and it feels lazy. ‘Ricki and the Flash‘ refers to Ricki (Streep), who is a 60-something woman who left her three kids and husband to try and be a rockstar in Los Angeles.
After on semi-decent album, her career never really took off, and is now playing gigs at a local run down bar in California for crowds that don’t even top out at 20. The Flash is her band and is made up up real musicians such as Rick Springfield and Rick Rosas, who all play cover songs for their small audiences. When Ricki is not playing in her band, she is a cashier at a Whole Foods equivalent to try and make ends meet.
When her ex-husband Pete (Kevin Kline) calls to tell her that their daughter Julie (Streep’s real-life daughter Mamie Gummer) is severely depressed over her husband leaving her, Ricki heads back to the East Coast to try and patch up her relationship with her three grown kids, which she has not seen in over twenty years. Her two sons Joshua (Sebastian Stan) and Daniel (Ben Platt) have lives of their own now too, which their mother knows nothing about including a big wedding she isn’t invited to. We’ve seen this story before, where an aging rock star tries to make good with the family they abandoned for stardom and all the awkward encounters that come with it.
However, Streep plays Ricki with a genuine charm and wit, despite her character flaws to almost always make the wrong decision. There is a bit of comedy here too, but it’s on the light side of things and never musters anything more than a chuckle. Then there is the issue of music here, which is all great. Streep even learned to play the guitar and her aged voice sounds excellent and vodka soaked like a real aging rocker. She sounds excellent for the role and give it her all. It’s just unfortunate that the film never really finds its feet in between the long drawn out music sequences and the dramatic moments to pull the emotions out.
WAIT FOR BLU-RAY OR NETFLIX!
– Bryan Kluger