By Liz Lopez
I am among the many fans of three time Academy Award winner Meryl Streep’s work and of the varied characters she has portrayed over her 40 year career. In her latest feature film, Ricki and The Flash, she takes the stage as a rock-and-roll band leader, looking mighty fine in black leather and cool jewelry to boot – along with her cool boots, might I add. From viewing the trailer and the knowledge of her history of 19 nominations for the Academy Award, viewers know there is no question about her performance in the film. She truly knocks this one out of the park.
The script by Diablo Cody provides some comedic elements to the drama and there is plenty of music throughout the film to make it an enjoyable film viewing experience for quite a broad audience. This has some humor, but not slapstick, for sure. There is drama because of the choice Ricki makes earlier in her life to leave behind her family for her career choice. The script does not go into all the sordid details of how the marriage to Pete (Kevin Kline) fell apart or what she went through leaving the three children, but we learn early on in the film that her only daughter, Julie (Mamie Gummer), is far from ready to forgive her and least of all, when she is going through her own major life event. It is definitely worth the price of admission to view the real mother and daughter as they portray these characters on the big screen.
Director Jonathan Demme (Philadelphia, Neil Young: Heart of Gold, Kenny Chesney: Unstaged) has extensive history with directing music films, among others, so his work with cinematographer Declan Quinn is excellent for showcasing the musicians who portray The Flash, including Rick Springfield as Greg Sandoval, Ricki’s love interest, recently deceased Rick Rosas who portrays Buster, Joe Vitale as Joe and Bernie Worrell is Billy. I love the guitars!
There are two scenes that stand out for me in the film. One is between Ricki and Maureen (Audra McDonald) – Pete’s wife who helped raise the three children – and one around the dinner table at a fine restaurant of Pete’s choice where all the family members are present and decide to air their dirty laundry so publicly. One son, Josh (Sebastian Stan) still loves him mama, but Adam (Nick Westrate) is the total opposite. Mamie Gummer certainly interprets her character very well with all the range of emotions to be expected, given what she has gone through during her life.
The film is rated PG-13, but is it not necessarily one I would concur to take the children, given the amount of adult content in the film that is 102 minutes long.
The film is in ten theaters in Austin and surrounding areas, including the Alamo Lakeline and south through town as far down as the Cinemark Southpark Meadows and Hill Country Galleria. Check your local listings for a theater near you.