I couldn't wait to see this movie after watching the trailers over the last couple of months. A fan of Meryl Streep, these snippets were an enticement to see what Meryl, dressed like a hard rocker, was up to next. The movie also stars Kevin Kline, Rick Springfield (Australian musician born in New South Wales), Mamie Gummer (Meryl's real life daughter) and Audra McDonald. The story is loosely based on the life of Diablo Cody's (Academy Award winning screenwriter) mother-in-law who still gigs on weekends.
Ricki Rendazzo (Streep) and her lead guitarist Greg (Rick Springfield) with whom she hooks up casually, along with the rest of the band members make up 'Ricky and the Flash'. They're an ageing bar band that never really made it to the top. Ricki sacrificed her family many years ago to follow her dreams to be a rocker. One day she gets a call from her ex husband Pete (Kevin Kline) to come home and comfort their daughter who is going through a bad separation and is in a bad way.
Estranged from her family for many years, Ricki travels home to be there for her daughter and to face the music for all the mistakes she made and for abandoning her family. This could be her shot for redemption with her three children who are now adults. Never the conventional mother, her presence is also confronting for her kids.
I loved the sound track in the film which is filled with 'live' performances by 'Ricki and the Flash'; Meryl herself singing and playing the guitar. It is noted that filming was delayed as Meryl wanted to learn to play the guitar to be believable. Her performance of 'Cold One' stripped down and sung in an intimate scene where she serenades her troubled daughter and long suffering husband as they relax together, was penned by Indie Rock songwriting team Jenny Lewis and Johnathan Rice. For me it was performed to perfection in a believable way and with a lot of heart.
That was the strain running through the whole film for me. It was heartfelt without being soppy. The gigs performed were realistic without being perfect. One has to look at Meryl and wonder if there's anything she can't do. By the time the film had reached the last half an hour before it ended, I didn't want it to end. I wanted more of that heartfelt vibe I was getting.
It may not be everyones cup of tea but if you want to go to the movies to just adore Meryl and worship at her feet while you relax, kick back, enjoy the tunes and go with the flow, this is the one for you. This amazing lady and Rick Springfield are still rocking it in their 60s. Perhaps you too may not want that feel good moment to end as the credits roll. I give it a 6.5 out of 10 and you'll find the tunes on iTunes under the title of the film if you want to check it out.