Ricki and the Flash review – Meryl Streep goes soft (rock)

Meryl Streep

Like those 80s nostalgia gigs, this is something of an old pro’s show: Jonathan Demme directing a lite-feminist Diablo Cody script about a gigging rocker (Meryl Streep) recalled to Squaresville, Indianapolis, to console her soon-to-be-divorced daughter.

The resultant pass-agg sniping suggests a sister film to Demme’s barbed Rachel Getting Married, although Streep’s presence inevitably softens the edges: the ferociously dishevelled offspring (Mamie Gummer, Streep’s actual daughter) is soon made over, and the final act installs a jukebox of all-American hits where the plot should be. 

Everybody’s basically jamming before the hugging starts, but – thanks to smart timing, and the director’s gift for sprinkling spontaneity over even humdrum interactions – getting there is no chore, and some fun, in an AOR-ish way. 

Curious, though, to see seasoned rock chronicler Demme suddenly going misty-eyed over Journey, Rick Springfield and Wang Chung: has he reasoned that this – rather than his preferred Talking Heads and Robyn Hitchcock – is just what plays in the heartlands?

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Mike McCahill, for The Guardian on Thursday 3rd September 2015 22.00 Europe/London

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