Ricki and The Flash (4 Stars)

Ricki (Meryl Streep) is a rockstar, in a band. She has regular gigs with her band the flash, has a small flat and works in a grocery store to make things meet. The catch…Ricki isn’t in her twenties. She’s not a young, care-free woman enjoying the youth. She’s quite a bit older. In fact, she has children – three of them, which are at the age when they’ve had their youth and our now settling down to get married…and divorced. Her daughter, Julie (Mamie Gummer) has just found out her husband is having an affair and wants to divorce her – she’s broken. Ricki’s ex husband (Kevin Kline) has called because he doesn’t know what he can do to help her. Ricki comes back home to try to help her daughter…but after walking out on her children to catch her musical dream – the children were pretty devastated and natural are hostile to their mother’s reappearance.

Meryl Streep is a wonderful actress and she showed us with Mamma Mia that she has a great voice too…this film she’s brilliant in. I enjoyed it. People just place so much empathise on growing up, settling down and starting a family and being responsible; that sometimes people give up their freedom and their dreams to have children. Meryl Streep portrayed well the struggle of loving music and being a talented singer…with the struggle to have and raise children. Whilst many would argue Ricki got it wrong and she was selfish to her children, I feel the issue was more complicated. To me there were parts of the film that hinted that Ricki’s ex husband, found a replacement mother – it didn’t indicate at what point he found this new mother – did Ricki go on tour and find out her husband had replaced her or did she walk out to go on tour, thus leaving a vacancy for a wife and mother? It’s unclear, but I certainly felt that perhaps there was an affair element here, so perhaps her children being hurt wasn’t entirely of Ricki’s making. Even if it was…it’s a hard place to be. What happens when you do generally love something but are torn between the two. Sometimes people give up their dreams to have children – sometimes parents get it wrong. Although this is a Hollywood feel good movie with the happy ending – it doesn’t always work out like that. Taking a look at some of the Big Bands and musicians out there, who have had children but carried on their careers, I wonder how many of them have good relationships with their musical parent…how many children have come through the same thing? In the process of us getting great music, how many relationships between children and parents have been ruined? It’s an interesting thought. Entertainment has been seen as a difficult business to have a family and a marriage in. So many Hollywood A-lister couples have failed to make a marriage work because of their careers. Is that the cost of chasing your dreams? Isn’t there a way to have your cake and eat it too?

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