Meryl Streep is back in the new film “Ricki and the Flash.” Streep plays Ricki, a Melissa Etheridge type character that is rock ‘n roll singer and musician. When her children were young, she left them to try to make her dreams come true and become a musician. Ricki’s dream has come true, but perhaps not as she envisioned it. She plays at a local bar in Tarzana, works full-time in a grocery store and lives in a tiny apartment. She is a musician, but not a star.
When Ricki is called by her ex-husband Pete (Kevin Kline), she learns that her daughter Julie (Mamie Gummer) is getting a divorce and she is having a troubling time. By returning to her husband and her grown children in Indiana, Ricki must face the how her decision to leave has affected her children.
The main focus of the film is twofold: a serious dialogue on the difference from mothers and fathers that have careers that take them away from their families and a rock concert starring Meryl Streep. The movie part of the film is lacking, mostly for it doesn’t show the real Ricki – stripped of her rock ‘n roll persona. By including so many performances, it crowds the film instead of adding to it.
The rock performance by Meryl Streep and Rick Springfield (who portrays Ricki’s boyfriend) are all wonderful and there is a cute cameo of “Ricki and the Flash” writer Diablo Codydancing to one of the songs being performed. And yes, that is really Meryl Streep on the guitar. According to Diablo Cody, Streep spent two months learning to play.
“Ricki and Flash” is really not a full movie. It is more part movie, and part music video. However, it is a very enjoyable time at the movies. Don't wait for Streep to receive attention come Oscar time for this performance. Yet since the movie has a musical component she stands a really good chance of a nomination for a Golden Globe Award.
“Ricki and the Flash” is rated PG - 13 for thematic material, brief drug content, sexuality and language and has a run-time of 101 minutes.