Does it feel like every January when they read the Oscar nominations there will always be a point where someone says, “…And Meryl Streep for ‘Fill in the blank movie?'” The only part out there she may have trouble playing is a bad actress, but she’d probably find a way to nail that one too. Her newest movie, “Ricki and the Flash” opens today, August 7 and it is not inconceivable that she earns her 20th nomination from this role. What will be interesting is to see how long it is before Mamie Gummer, who not only plays her daughter in the movie, but is her real life daughter too, starts ranking up her own nominations. One thing that is clear is the apple does not fall far from the tree. It’s only too bad it could not be in a better movie.
Ricki (Streep) is the leader of an band that currently plays classic rock and a few modern hits too at a local bar. She gets a call from her ex-husband, Pete (Kevin Kline) telling her that their daughter’s husband has left her and believes it would do some good if she came home to spend some time with her. Ricki had left her family years ago to pursue her dream of becoming a rock star, so how will she be received when she returns home?
“Ricki and the Flash” is a mix between a drama and a music video. Streep is a great singer and her character is great on stage, but sometimes during the movie when you’d like to see the plot move along. Sometimes the songs feels like filler because the story did not have enough to say. The drama plays out exactly as you expect. When Ricki comes home she is hardly welcomed back by her family, but slowly she begins to build up bonds again, especially with her daughter. Then as things look like they are going swimmingly… well, you get the idea. Oscar winner Diablo Cody wrote the screenplay, but if the production had not cast Meryl Streep as its lead, it probably would have played pretty badly.
Mamie Gummer must be discussed. She has yet to star in any high profile movie, but that doesn’t mean a thing. For the past decade she has been showing up in a variety of television shows and smaller movies, building up a resume for the last ten years. She may be the daughter of Meryl Streep, but it almost feels she is an undiscovered talent. Diablo Cody has always excelled at writing unique, strong female characters and Julie is no exception. She is a character who feels her life is gone now, but like any of us, she slowly picks up the pieces. It would be amazing if we found out next year that mother and daughter both earn nominations. If Gummer does not get any award recognition for her role, not to worry, her time is coming soon.
If you are a Meryl Streep fan, then you will want to check out “Ricki and the Flash.” It has a very satisfying ending, so you feel good at the end of the movie. If you are not a big fan of the actress, then its a movie you can catch on cable TV sometime next year. It is Rated PG – 13 for thematic material, brief drug content, sexuality and language.