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Ricki and the Flash (2015)

PG-13 | | Comedy, Drama, Music | 7 August 2015 (USA)
Trailer
1:38 | Trailer
A musician who gave up everything for her dream of rock-and-roll stardom returns home, looking to make things right with her family.

Director:

Jonathan Demme

Writer:

Diablo Cody
4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Meryl Streep ... Ricki
Rick Springfield ... Greg
Rick Rosas Rick Rosas ... Buster
Joe Vitale Joe Vitale ... Joe
Bernie Worrell ... Billy
Ben Platt ... Daniel
Peter C. Demme Peter C. Demme ... Walt
Jim Roche Jim Roche ... Provocative Dancer
Alexa Klienbard Alexa Klienbard ... Provocative Dancer
Keala Settle ... Sharon
Joe Toutebon ... Whitey
Jim Wheeler Jim Wheeler ... Elvis Guy (as Big Jim Wheeler)
Brooklyn Demme Brooklyn Demme ... Salt Well Drinker
Eamon O'Rourke Eamon O'Rourke ... Salt Well Dancer
Aaron Moten ... Troy (as Aaron Clifton Moten)
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Storyline

A woman named Linda leaves her family to pursue her dream of being a rock star. And she hasn't achieved the notoriety she hoped for. Her ex-husband calls her to tell her that her daughter suffered a breakdown because her husband left her. She goes back to Indianapolis. But her daughter doesn't exactly welcome her with open arms. But she stays and tries. And her sons also don't welcome her warmly. Written by rcs0411@yahoo.com

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Get Ready to Rock. Get Ready to Love. Get Ready for Ricki.

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Music

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG - 13 for thematic material, brief drug content, sexuality and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

7 August 2015 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Ricki and the Flash See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$18,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$6,610,961, 9 August 2015

Gross USA:

$26,822,144

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$41,325,328
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | SDDS | Datasat

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Meryl Streep learned how to play the guitar for this movie. See more »

Goofs

Every time the band finishes a song at the Salt Well, the cheers and applause sound like far more people than the roughly 20 we see on screen. See more »

Quotes

[to Julie]
Pete: Don't kill yourself in there.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The credits are accompanied by a clip of Ricki and the Flash singing "Cold One" at the wedding. See more »

Connections

References 60 Minutes (1968) See more »

Soundtracks

Prayer
Written by Vini Reilly
Performed by The Durutti Column
Courtesy of Warner Music U.K. Ltd
By arrangement with Warner Music Group Film & TV Licensing
See more »

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User Reviews

 
"Ricki and the Flash" features a good premise and outstanding acting, but mediocre writing and directing.
9 August 2015 | by CleveMan66See all my reviews

It has to be tough to be the child of a living legend, especially in show business, but Mamie Gummer seems to be handling it quite well, thank you very much. The oldest daughter of multiple Oscar winner Meryl Streep, Gummer is making a name for herself in the family business. Like Emilio Estevez (son of Martin Sheen) and Angelina Jolie (daughter of Jon Voight), Gummer uses a family name (her father's last name) while establishing her own identity in film (and television). Like Jaden Smith (son of Will Smith), Gummer has joined her famous parent on screen while developing her acting skills. As a toddler, Gummer had a role in her mother's movie "Heartburn" (1987). As an adult, Gummer played a younger version of her mother's character in 2007's "Evening". (Gummer also had a brief scene in Streep's 2006 film "The Devil Wears Prada" but that scene was dropped in editing.) In 2015, it's the mother-daughter team playing mother and daughter in "Ricki and the Flash" (PG-13, 1:41) – and it's kind of hard to decide which actress did a better job.

Streep plays the title character, Ricki Rendazzo, an aging rock musician. The film opens with Ricki playing a set of musical covers as the singer in a local bar's house band. She obviously loves what she's doing, but it's short of where she hoped she'd be, having to hold another job as a supermarket cashier to make ends meet (and then, just barely). Then, not long into the story, her other identity beckons. Pete Brummel (Kevin Klein) repeatedly calls her cell phone until she finally answers. He's not calling Ricki. He's calling his ex-wife Linda to tell her that their daughter, Julie (Gummer) has been dumped by her cheating husband and dad is worried about her. It's an understatement. Although she can barely afford the ticket, Ricki-slash-Linda hops on a plane from L.A. back home to Indianapolis to be there for her daughter. It's the most she's done for any of her children in over 25 years.

As you might imagine, in her kids' eyes, this grand gesture isn't nearly enough to make up for leaving the family to pursue her rock and roll fantasy in the late 80s – and having precious little contact with them since. Ricki's appearance sends the very depressed and highly-medicated Julie into a rage and a family dinner which includes her two sons (Sebastian Stan and Ben Platt) goes only a little bit better. During her short visit, Ricki makes considerable progress pulling Linda out of her funk, but when Pete's current wife (Audra McDonald) returns from a visit with her sick father, it's clear that it's time for Ricki to leave. It's back to California, back to the grocery store, back to the bar stage and back to her lead guitarist pseudo-boyfriend, Greg (Rick Springfield). As Ricki tortures herself over the sorry state of her relationship with her children, Greg comforts her and encourages her not to quit trying to make amends. As badly as she wants to make this better, an opportunity that arises to do just that still makes for a difficult decision.

Considering the great pedigree of "Ricki and the Flash", the movie should have been better than it was. Oh, don't get me wrong – the acting is top notch, but other aspects of the film were disappointing. Streep does her usual outstanding work (not to take her for granted, but this is Meryl Streep were talking about here) – and there are award-worthy performances from Streep's fellow Oscar veteran (and former co-star) Kevin Kline, definitely from Ms. Gummer, from McDonald and even from Springfield. I expected more, however, from Oscar-winning director Jonathan Demme ("The Silence of the Lambs") and Oscar-winning screenwriter Diablo Cody ("Juno").

Except for one great line late in the movie, the dialog is unremarkable and often the story feels forced. In one scene, Ricki points out the double-standard for male and female rock musicians who are absentee parents, but fails to acknowledge that Ricki could have still done had more of a relationship with her children than she did. A few references are made to Ricki being a conservative (even though she's a musician in California and her family back in the mid-West seems pretty liberal), but never gives any context for that characterization or even makes it at all pertinent to the story. The script also fails to explain anything about the circumstances surrounding Ricki's departure from the family or much about how her career developed over the ensuing quarter century.

Throughout the film, questionable writing and directing choices overplay many characters' disdain for Ricki to the point that the ultimate resolution of the story feels far-fetched. Even some of the camera work and editing seem unnecessarily melodramatic. The theme of family reconciliation is worthy and heart-warming, but for a story of an aging rocker trying to reconnect with family left behind, 2015's "Danny Collins" is a much better story and with equally good acting. The acting is the main reason to see "Ricki". The rest is just a small flash in the pan. "B-"


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