Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Ricki and the Flash

Over the last thirty-plus years, Meryl Streep has made herself one of the biggest names in Hollywood. Three Academy Awards out of nineteen nominations, one of the few actresses over 50 still getting steady's clear as to why she's basically a living legend.

So does her work in Jonathan Demme's Ricki and the Flash compare to her earlier performances? Well, it's a far cry from her usual fare (read: awards bait) but it's still a delight to see her in action. (Well, she does do these lighter roles every few years for a change of pace.)

But Streep isn't the only woman of Ricki and the Flash worth mentioning. There's Diablo Cody, who wrote the wonderfully diverse script. (No surprise to anyone familiar with Juno or Young Adult.) And there's also Mamie Gummer (Streep's daughter both in the film and real life) who certainly inherited some of her mother's talents. (Oh, the work from the men is good too. Also, Kevin Kline needs to be in more stuff.)

Yes, the whole "parent who abandoned their family is trying to make amends" plotline is swiftly approaching overused territory but thanks to Demme, Cody and Streep, they put some new life into it. They show that Ricki is flawed and they don't immediately make her sympathetic when she's with her estranged family. Then again, when a film is in the hands of three Oscar winners, it's hard to go wrong.

Ricki and the Flash is a very sweet film. (Certainly not something you'd expect from the director of The Silence of the Lambs, Philadelphia and Rachel Getting Married.) It also proves that there needs to be more lady writers in Hollywood. (Well, it's one way to get better roles for actresses.)

My Rating: ****1/2

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