SUBLIME STREEP IS SOLID AS A ROCKER
What we have here is a pronounced case of “no Meryl Streep, no movie”.
Which is not to say there is much wrong with Ricki and the
Flash. However, it is another deeply immersive performance from Streep that repeatedly lifts this bittersweet comedy-drama hybrid out of the doldrums.
Streep plays Ricki, a woman well on the wrong side of 50 who has made a lot of wrong choices along the way.
Once a wife and mother, Ricki ditched her family unit for a career in rock music that never took off.
Now she’s fronting a bar band a few nights a week, and staying a hair’s breadth above the poverty line by clocking on as a check-out chick at the local Whole Foods store.
While Ricki is indeed a commanding presence at the microphone — Streep’s earthy vocal performances are a highlight throughout here — her unapologetic absence from the lives of her three children remains a problem that needs some serious fixing.
As scripted by writer Diablo Cody ( Juno) for veteran director Jonathan Demme, Ricki and the
Flash takes a while to ignite the one dramatic flashpoint it has in its storytelling arsenal.
A personal crisis experienced by Ricki’s daughter (played by Streep’s own daughter Mamie Gummer) forces the maladjusted muso’s ex-husband (Kevin Kline) to reluctantly put out a distress call.
Ricki answers as shambolically as expected, but out of the chaos arrives a truly worthwhile moment of reckoning. With Streep maintaining the flow of the film in a forceful enough manner, a strong support cast (of which Rick Springfield as Ricki’s sometime lover is a standout) is able to gradually make a lasting mark as well.