Ricki and the Flash Screen 15 articles

Ricki and the Flash

2015

Ricki and the Flash Poster
  • [Cody] has no idea how to give life to the character’s Republicanism the way, in Young Adult, she was able to turn brittle bitchiness into a farce. Demme is selling the humanness of the part. But just like with Rachel Getting Married, he seems meek and dutiful, caught in the bourgeois, liberal weeds. The whole thing is like watching a Nancy Meyers movie do community service.

  • It’s largely a sturdy, enjoyable domestic comedy drama. It showcases the sort of typically amazingly diverse and eclectic cast only its director Jonathan Demme can and would put together... [But the movie's final scene] pretty much sells all the good honest work everyone involved has done up to this point down the river, in a conclusion that hard-sells a feel-good cliché with such forced-grin inanity that it feels like a hallucination.

  • Structurally audacious or structurally inept? What Cody did with the conclusion of Young Adult makes me want to give her the benefit of the doubt, but there's nothing particularly subversive, much less satisfying, about the way this film abruptly jettisons its apparent premise halfway through, metamorphosing into a singularly implausible feel-good fantasy.

  • Sight & Sound: Lisa Mullen
    September 07, 2015 | October 2015 Issue (p. 95)

    This unashamedly feelgood vehicle for Meryl Streep and her real-life daughter Mamie Gummer never sets out to tap fundamental truths about human existence, but it does offer the opportunity to enjoy the sight of a tattooed, leather trousered Streep belting out an unhinged cover of Pink's "Get the Party Started." For some, that will be plenty, though fans of Demme and Cody may be forgiven for feeling disappointed by such an insubstantial fluff ball of a film.

  • The watchword in all films of this type is realism—usually injected through live sound recording (rather than miming) of performances. But Ricki and the Flash plays things just a little too safe. One longs for a single event, character or mood switch which is truly different or extreme—like Jennifer Jason Leigh’s agonizingly extended performance of Van Morrison’s “Take Me Back” in Georgia, or the near-incestuous current of intense family feeling in Light of Day.

  • Given that Demme’s Stop Making Sense represents the high-water mark of the concert film as a genre, it should come as no surprise that Ricki And The Flash’s musical numbers—filmed live, with Streep singing and playing rhythm guitar—are uniformly superb... But as in much of the prolific director’s later work, one can’t help but miss the creative contributions of Tak Fujimoto, the cinematographer of most of Demme’s best and best-known films.

  • Director Jonathan Demme grasps the well of feeling of Cody's script and eventually harnesses it in his own image, enhancing some of the film's sitcom dramedy with probing close-ups and clever blocking... If the collaboration between Demme and Cody is undeniably bumpy, much of its uneven, unresolved energy (epitomized by Streep's creaky performance as an alternately nervous and determined artist) is a boon to their film's finale.

  • Charged emotional moments that suggest the changing-for-the-better family’s dynamic are frequently slighted or rushed in favour of the film’s less messy, more entertaining narrative devices... Regardless of its flimsy emotional interior, Ricki is a worthy addition in this year’s growing canon of strong female-centred films, and it would be wise to remember Streep’s stunning performance come awards season.

  • It’s Streep in basic rock-chick drag, this part, and while it’s patly enjoyable as far as it goes, it might have risked something darker, a proper walk on the wild side. Imagine Death Metal Becomes Her, and consider the demons she might have unleashed.

  • Diablo Cody’s screenplay has some clever moments (including many tart lines for Julie), but is not without its frustrations... At the end of the day, Ricki is probably baby boomer bait, and Demme doesn’t quite emulate the colourful energy of say, 1986’s Something Wild, but if the film was a slightly cheesy song on a classic rock radio station, we might bob our heads instead of turning it off.

  • It’s easy to view Ricki and the Flash from afar as a feel good comedy about mother/daughter relationships – the line “sometimes a girl just needs her mother” even crops up in here – but Cody and Demme are operating on a more subtle level than that.

  • Music wins at the climax, which is why it’s so touching. (Music is all that Ricki has.) Even before that, however, the film is surprisingly wise and non-judgmental.

  • Demme’s ever-gracious spirits are in full bloom. Along with his cinematographer Declan Quinn he packs each frame with vibrant details (each of the groupies at Ricki’s shows feel like they have a life all their own). And he cultivates a serene, contemplative rhythm throughout that beautifully offsets Cody’s sketchy dramatic coarseness.

  • What a treat to discover that Ricki and the Flash is a bit of a mess – in a lot of respects – the kind of mess that many MANY movies avoid, the kind of mess I love. A beautiful mess. A human mess. It’s a mess because the emotions it unleashes are huge and intense (especially in the last sequence), it’s a mess because nothing really happens – and the plot is conventional – and yet you still get the sense that EVERYTHING happens and it happens in really unpredictable ways.

  • it struck me as a late-period masterpiece, combining the classic Demme virtues of compassion for its characters and attention to their smallest gestures with a new reflection and reserve. Demme's work had often been rightly described as "youthful." Here then was a film that felt like the work of an aging artist, in the best possible way. It was beautiful and lively, but also curiously haunting.

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