Ricki and the Flash

Meryl Streep was in her mid-60s when she played Ricki Rendazzo, a runaway mom who comes back home when her now-grown daughter is in crisis. Ricki is a small-time rocker whose onscreen performance in a bar band gives her the platform to speak her mind about society’s double standard for parents. Nobody bats an eye that Jagger has seven children with four different women, she tells us, but for a mom to miss a PTA meeting makes her a monster. Ricki missed decades more than one Back to School Night, and she knows it, but we take her point: Parental guilt is so much more the province of women than of men. Her character may not be famous, but Ricki (and Streep) can find her way around a dance tune, and in the end, her music brings the family to the start of a resolution. The film is well crafted, if a bit formulaic. My favorite thing about it, though, is not the message to cut ourselves some slack as mothers, as important as that is. I adore the hot connection between Ricki and her guitarist (played by Rick Springfield, for once a romantic lead played by a man slightly younger than the female star). Closeups of the two actors make no secret of their age, and their chemistry is undeniable. Ricki is a woman who loves loud music and sex, and age has not changed that one bit. Streep dancing, Streep kissing, Streep playing guitar, Streep singing lead – this woman is the smart, sexy old lady par excellance. More movies like this, I say.

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