Sunday, October 30, 2016

Movie Review: Ricki and the Flash

Ricki and the Flash
Clinica Estetico, LStar Capital, TriStar Pictures, USA, 2015. 

Let's check some films that the readers of this site have suggested. 

Ricki (Meryl Streep) is a rocker stuck in the 1980s. Although she is living her dream, her band the Flash has seen its better days and plays in small bars. Ricki's day job is being a cashier and she's skint. When her daughter Julie (Streep's real daughter Mamie Gummer) divorces and gets a nervous breakdown she needs to go meet her ex-husband Pete (Kevin Kline). Pete is living in a nice house with his new wife. Rock life has been Ricki's main priority so she is estranged from Julie and sons Josh (Sebastian Stan) and Adam (Nick Westrate). The sons have different lifestyles than their mother (she's a Republican), green/leftist Josh is getting married and Adam is gay.
Kevin Kline and Meryl Streep
Pete and Ricki
Mamie Gummer
Ricki makes progress with Julie but Pete's wife Maureen (Audra McDonald) drives Ricki away. Ricki's boyfriend Greg (Rick Springfield) wants to deepen their relationship but Ricki feels that she has messed up her life. So making up with the past is the way to go. Finally Ricki shows the uptight wedding guest's how to rock. It was amusing to see the the shocked faces of the wedding guests when the band started to play.
Hailey Gates and Sebastian Stan
Emily (Hailey Gates) and Josh
Meryl Streep and Rick Springfield
Ricki and Greg
Meryl Streep sings adult oriented rock songs well and shows again her versatility. The soundtrack has good classic rock and some pop cover songs. The character of Ricki (Streep) was inspired by scriptwriter Diablo Cody’s rocker mother-in-law, Terry Cieri, so there is some personal touch in the story. But there are some things that prevent this from becoming one of my favourite Meryl Streep films. The comedic drama is well acted but has quite traditional redemption plot so no surprises here. Emphasis on the word comedic as the marketing tried to market this as a comedy although this is clearly a drama with some funny moments. Rick Springfield is also a fun rocker but it is a pity that the rest of the Flash, with many musicians from famous bands, have only minimal roles so the story is more about Ricki and less about the Flash. Generally it is a warm-hearted film with enjoyable dialogue. Still I think that the slice of life style approach does not fully work here as the other characters do not fully use their potential and somehow the story feels incomplete. We do not learn much about the family members of Ricki except that one kid is neurotic, one is gay and one is green. Still it is very watchable thanks to Meryl Streep's performance and music.

Rating: Good

Starring: Meryl Streep, Rick Springfield, Rick Rosas, Joe Vitale, Bernie Worrell, Ben Platt, Peter C. Demme, Jim Roche, Alexa Klienbard, Keala Settle, Joe Toutebon, Big Jim Wheeler, Brooklyn Demme, Eamon O'Rourke, Aaron Moten, Adam Shulman, Kevin Kline, Chinasa Ogbuagu, Majora Carter, Gus Halper, 'Sister' Carol East, Cherise Boothe, Mamie Gummer, Bill Irwin, Ripley Sobo, Lucy Owen, Sebastian Stan, Nick Westrate, Hailey Gates, Josh Tobin, Carmen Carrera, Li Jun Li, Gabriel Ebert, Lisa Joyce, Jimmy Kieffer, Scott Ripley, Kelsey Didion, John Dreher, Suzanne Lenz, Scott Vicari, Desi Domo, Eliza Simpson, Audra McDonald, Emily Cass McDonnell, Cynthia J. Hopkins, Em Grosland, Charlotte Rae, Beau Sia, Jeff Biehl, Victoria Haynes, Joshua Elrod, Tubten Rabten, Anna Robertson, Tony Costa, Christopher Tierney, Isabella Way, Leah O'Donnell, Erin Mullin, Trevor F. Salter, Mason Ames, Katherine Crockett, Jos Demme, PigPen Theatre Company, Renée Albulario, Leasen Beth Almquist, Barbara Christie, Semar Ghebremichael, Chris Giarmo, Lawrence Goldhuber, Andrew Haserlat, Perri Lauren, Will Mann, Mayumi Miguel, William Ryall, Chinaza Uche, Alain Van Beaux, Nicholas Ward, James Young 
Director: Jonathan Demme


  1. Sooooo happy you watched this and even liked it to some degree!

    I loved your review and agree with everything. The redemption plot is quite traditional, I just happen to like those kinds of plot-lines xD

    I was so surprised how good of an actor Rick Springfield is. I didn't care that much about Mamie Gummer the first time I watched this but after my fourth viewing, I've fallen in love with her! Talent I suppose runs deep in those blood veins xD

    1. Mamie was good too. At first I didn't know that Mamie and Meryl were related and I began to wonder how similar they looked like.


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