Film review: Ricki and the Flash (8 out of 10)

Meryl Streep has been hailed as the greatest living film actress, with three Oscars and a shelf full of other awards, and I’m not going to rock the boat by suggesting otherwise.

Ricki and the Flash
Ricki and the Flash

Her versatility, as with any accomplished actor, is her strength and this latest movie adds a few more lines to her CV.

We knew she could sing; coming out with some difficult ABBA numbers in Mama Mia! proved that.

So it shouldn’t be any surprise that Streep belts out some great vocals as the leader of a rock band in Ricki and the Flash.

She also learned enough about playing guitar to not look out of place and in one scene performs a really good number on an acoustic guitar.

Streep is Ricki who upped and left her family several years before to pursue a dream of playing and singing in a band.

However, along the line reality has kicked in and she is heading the house band in a bar, broke and working as a checkout girl in a store.

However, her ex-husband Pete (Kevin Kline) phones to say that their daughter Julie (played by Streep’s real-life daughter Mamie Gummer) has been dumped by her husband and is having a breakdown.

So Ricki heads off to support her family, even though Julie and her two brothers dislike her for ditching them when they were young.

It’s a plot that could have turned to emotional mush but the excellent acting and humour keep it bubbling along.

Streep and Kline lead the way but Gummer is a chip off old block and, as you’d expect, works particularly well in scenes with her mother.

The surprise for me is Rick Springfield who I’ve always known as a great guitarist in various bands. His (mainly TV) career has passed me by but he is really good as Ricki’s fellow band member, looking to be more then just a friend.

Veteran director Jonathan Demme is not afraid of the music taking over at times and there are some great covers of rock classics that will have you itching to dance in the aisles.

Film details: Ricki and the Flash (12A) 101mins

Director: Jonathan Demme

Starring: Meryl Streep, Kevin Kline, Mamie Gummer

Screening courtesy of Horsham Capitol

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