Three-time Academy Award® winner Meryl Streep goes electric and takes on a whole new gig – a hard-rocking singer/guitarist – for Oscar®-winning director Jonathan Demme and Academy Award®-winning screenwriter Diablo Cody in the uplifting comedy Ricki and the Flash. In a film loaded with music and live performance, Streep stars as Ricki, a guitar heroine who gave up everything for her dream of rock-and-roll stardom and now returns home to make things right with her family. Streep stars opposite her real-life daughter Mamie Gummer, who plays her fictional daughter. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Lainey A. comments, “I enjoy this laid back comedy drama for its intense and strong family relationships.” For her full review, see below.
Ricki and the Flash
By Lainey A. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13
This live action feature film directed by Jonathan Demme is definitely entertaining and a feel-good movie. Ricki and the Flash is loaded with non-stop music, mostly from the 80s and presumably sung by Ricki (Meryl Streep) and Greg (Rick Springfield). I enjoy this laid back comedy drama for its intense and strong family relationships.
This movie is about Ricki who walked out on her husband and three young children in Indiana to pursue her lifelong dream of becoming a rock-and-roll star in Los Angeles. Her decision alienated her from her family and soon her ex husband Pete (Kevin Kline) married Maureen (Audra McDonald) who fills the role of mother. One day Pete calls Ricki to help him with their daughter Julie (Mamie Gummer) who is reeling from her very recent separation from her husband. When Ricki arrives in Indianapolis, she has a lot of work to do to rekindle the relationship with her kids.
This movie makes me think about what it could feel like to be a kid whose mom abandons them, or be a mom who walks in one day and her kids hate her. This movie is very realistic. My favorite character is totally Mamie Gummer, Meryl Streep’s daughter in real life, because she really portrays her role as Julie and makes me laugh and feel bad for her in some parts of the movie. I really like Meryl Streep as an actress, but I didn’t buy her being a rock star as much as I would have liked. The lead band player, Greg, is her boyfriend, and he tones down Ricki’s edgy personality.
My favorite scene is when Ricki and her daughter Julie are at a donut shop. There is some inappropriate humor in this scene which lays out the first steps to bonding and rebuilding their relationship.
The target audience for this film is definitely for anyone who was alive in the 80’s and it may appeal more to women than men. There is some adult humor, mild language, and drug use in this film, so I would recommend Ricki and the Flash for ages 13-18. I give this film 4 out of 5 stars because overall it was a fun movie for the summer.
This movie opened in theaters, Friday, August 7 so go check it out.
Ricki and the Flash
By Morgan B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10
I was totally entertained watching this movie. The plot is awesome and has a great story line about a Mom leaves her family in order to follow her dream. It is also about the consequences of choices. The theme for young people is that you can be anything you want to be. Rarely do you hear people talking about the hard work and sacrifices you have to make to achieve your dreams. Ricki, played by Meryl Streep, pays the ultimate price – her children and family. This is a very believable plot with an outstanding cast.
Take an old warehouse in Brooklyn, throw in same chairs, a bar and keep the Shirley Temples coming. The band scenes with Meryl Streep singing are some of my favorite. You can tell they are all having a great time and love being there. There are many Rock ‘N roll songs that you can sing along with (in your head) and I loved the music.
Rick Springfield plays her band mate and boyfriend and they seem like they belong together. I found myself rooting for their success. Meryl has said they he helped her learn to be a Rock ‘N Roll Star. This, once again, shows what an A+ actress she is. She excels at portraying different characters constantly. She is fearless. Congratulations to Rick Springfield for his amazing performance in this film and for coaching Ms. Streep.
Meryl Streep did not know how to play a guitar before this role and managed to snag a 45 minute private lesson with rock legend Neil Young in preparation for this film.
Kevin Kline plays Pete, her patient ex-husband who was left to raise their three children on his own while his wife tried to make it in the Rock ‘N roll business.
Mamie Gummer plays Julie the daughter. This was not a far stretch since this is Meryl Streep’s real daughter. They definitely look alike. At the beginning of the film, she is very upset and depressed and plays this part well. I could not decide if I wanted to get mad at her or feel sorry for her. This movie is really about a mother, her daughter and her sons trying to reconcile their past. Some people should get a second chance but only if they want one.
The age range for this movie is 10 to 18. It has a mature topic and there are many bars scenes. Young ones might not like it because it is a drama. I give this movie 4.5 Rock Stars. This movie is in theaters now.
Credit: KIDS FIRST! Coming Attractions