Bringing you honest reviews of recent releases
Meryl Streep – Ricki Rendazzo / Linda
Kevin Kline – Pete
Mamie Gummer – Julie
Rick Springfield – Greg
Sebastien Stan – Joshua
Audra McDonald – Maureen
The first thing I anticipated when I went to see this movie was the arrival of Linda’s daughter Julie – mainly because it was Streep’s real-life daughter Mamie Gummer. Interesting element there; close relatives playing close relatives. I wondered how it would pan out..
Firstly, Gummer did a great job at portraying abandoned, cheated Julie. Her first scene sees her fly down the stairs of her house and burst into the kitchen whilst screaming at her mother. And she looks a fright; disheveled hair, baggy clothes, no make-up. The costume department worked hard to make her a state, but it was her acting that shone through. Screaming and moaning were the magic ingredients as a traumatised daughter threw herself around the house. She later calms down but the miserable face (just as pointy as her mother’s) remains firmly in place, even during an exquisite dinner party. Gummer had the audience laughing out loud with her very dry, deadpan humour. It was good to watch.
Streep’s performance as an ageing rock star wasn’t bad at all. But then, when IS the actress bad? Meryl Streep is one of those nicely-irritating Hollywood stars due to them being great – in EVERYTHING. I don’t think I’ve seen a movie of hers where I thought she was crap (although Mama Mia was questionable.. the main question being ‘why was this produced?’).
She does well. Ricki and the Flash is definitely one of her more subtle portrayals; she doesn’t do anything to wow the audience in terms of acting, and in fact it was at points like watching a standard soap opera. Perhaps it was her character, but Streep seemed to coast through this movie by just swaggering about the place as though stoned on some sort of illegal drug. Again, the woman delivers any role she is given superbly so I suppose she nailed it, bringing the character of a cliché rock star to life. She just seemed very toned down. Almost tired.
On stage I have to say, she seemed more Country and Western than rock star. Swinging that long blonde hair about and crooning love songs in a deep, husky voice. Fans of Streep will no doubt find these scenes interesting. Clunking along a stage dressed like a blonde Ozzy Osborne and singing is something the actress doesn’t do a lot of – so it does come as a nice surprise. Almost refreshing. I found myself absorbed in her music, however out-of-tune some keys were. And the scenes aren’t overly long either which is a bonus. Snippets of Ricki playing guitar and singing blend nicely into the following scenes.
Overall, not bad singing – bearable, watchable.
Ironically, Ricki and the Flash seemed to flash before my eyes. The movie opens, the lead characters are introduced, you get some music mixed with family arguments, and then a musical finale.
If you’re expecting one of Streep’s classic meaningful, involving features then you might want to re-expect. This is a very subtle portrayal of a mother and her relationships with her children, where the actress lays on more makeup than acting. That doesn’t mean she was bad, she just toned it down for this one. As far as viewer age goes, this is one for the older generation – most of the cinema audience reflected this when I went to see it.
The main element of the plot I liked was how the separated husband and wife come together after so long, clearly still have feelings for each other, but don’t get back together. This movie does good here by showing what can / does happen in real life when reunited with an old flame: no matter how much people move on, if they’ve lost the spark they’ve lost the spark. Unlike many other Hollywood movies, Ricki and the Flash steers clear of the cliché bullshit where the couple are now in love with a different person but decide to get back together with their previous love, thus completely wasting the time and emotions of their current love. I hate all that crap.
Give it a go, but there’s no need to be upset if you do end up missing it.