First Hit: Nothing lasting about this film and moments were really enjoyable.
It must have been interesting for a real life mother (Ricki/Linda played by Meryl Streep) and daughter (Julie played by Mamie Gummer) to play film life mother and daughter.
The resemblance was there and I couldn’t help but wonder if Meryl’s movie making career created some angst in Mamie’s relationship with her? My guess is that there might have been some but not as much as in this film. Here Ricki/Linda leaves her marriage to Pete (Kevin Kline) to follow her dream of being in a Rock-n-Roll band. Pete was left to care for the three kids, Julie, Josh and Adam, alone. Pete marries Maureen (Audra McDonald) who steps in and becomes the mother Ricki/Linda isn’t.
However, this film is also about following your dreams regardless if you become rich and famous for it. Her band is her family now and we get to watch her relationship grow with Greg (Rick Springfield) the lead guitarist.
The band’s covers of songs by various artists are strong and authentic enough to make it work. Their versions of these songs take into account the age of the band members as well as their abilities. Although I didn’t particularly like the songs chosen – they work well enough.
The film is about acceptance and seeing things from another’s point of view.
Meryl Streep was almost convincing as someone who lives in a dream land kind of way. Her dialogue was good for the part but Streep's inane intelligence belied her part. It seemed hard for me to see Streep be a character that didn't understand the impact of her choices. It is difficult to play ignorantly spacey. As the film progresses her character begins to get it, so the acting isn’t as difficult. Gummer is pretty good at being the spoiled child who cannot believe her marriage turned out the way it did. Kline was very good as the father, still loving his first wife, loving his second wife, and knowing where to be strong and flexible. McDonald did a strong job of being the woman who raised someone else’s kids. Springfield was very good as Ricki’s band mate and lover. It also gave credibility to the music playing in the film. Diablo Cody wrote the, at times, adequate and compelling script. Jonathan Demme directed the cast well, it was just that the subject matter wasn’t presented in the strongest way.
Overall: This was a feel good film and for the most part it worked.