Nothing like the American girl as Ricki (Meryl Streep) real name Linda Brummel, and the Flash with lead guitarist Greg (Rick Springfield) Ricki’s boyfriend, sings the song at their gig at the Salt Well in Los Angeles. She was once married to Pete Brummel (Kevin Kline) and had three beautiful children, Julie (Mamie Gummer), Adam (Nick Westrate) and Joshua (Sebastian Stan). Pete now lives in Indianapolis with his current wife Maureen (Audra McDonald) in a gorgeous gated community huge luxurious home with their Standard Poodle, Sigma. Ricki lives in a small upstairs apartment by herself, works days in a grocery store to pay the rent and nights singing at the Salt Well singing cover songs by the Boss, Pink and other current artists. She hasn’t spent any time with her children as they were growing up so Maureen stepped in as their acting mother. Yes there is some slight tension there between the two women especially with Maureen being the proper lady and Ricki living the wild life. Well opinions are like; well you know everyone has one! Opinions should always be based on a person’s character not their clothes, job, what they drive or where they live.
Pete calls Ricki and asks her to fly to Indiana to help out with their daughter since she is currently on suicide alley, so to speak. It seems Max (Gabriel Ebert) left Julie for another woman and Julie has lost her mind. We’ve all been there; cheated on, lost the one you loved so much because they thought the grass was greener on the other side. Well maybe not all of us but for the most part you get the idea! I especially enjoyed the confrontation between Max and Pete when words were spoken to the friends of Max that condoned his cheating ways. That spoke volumes and hopefully some people understand it! Ricki arrives in Indiana, broke and looking a bit out of place in their community with her leather clothes and braided hair but she does her best to help Julie and spend some time with her gay son Adam, and her son Josh who is engaged to Emily (Hailey Gates). It seems everyone knew about the upcoming wedding but Ricki! Words are spoken between Maureen and Ricki and Ricki returns to Los Angeles. Personalities are not always black and white, no pun intended, between Maureen and Ricki but more so a bit grey when it comes to the children.
Back home in Los Angeles Ricki finally realizes that sometimes what is right in front of you is what is not broken. After an extended olive branch she and Greg both fly out to Indianapolis to attend a wedding with the best gift she could ever give her son on his wedding day. People in life may come and go but family and the ones that truly honestly unconditionally love you will never leave, like your pets.
I had an idea that Streep would be awesome and she was. Of course once again Oscar worthy. Yet the direction was well done except for the fact that there may have been too much singing whereas the writer should have added a bit more character development into the story. I mean the music is good and Streep can sing but at times it feels like I was at a Meryl Streep concert. A bit more of a look into the lives of the children and I would have been happy.
Streep once again is perfection. Gummer is likable and relatable. Springfield is definitely getting up there in age but he still knows how to perform. Kline is brilliant and McDonald although not a huge part plays it well. Stan and Gates are a nice cast for their roles as is Westrate. I just would have rather had a bit less of Streep singing and more about the family life. All in all though I really enjoyed this film and especially enjoyed some of the lessons learned in the story line. In one way or another I think we all will pull something out of this film about our own lives. Written and enjoyed with 3 paws out of 4 by Jon Patch.