Jonathan Demme’s film from a script by Diablo Cody (JUNO) is a wholly satisfying film experience in large part due to excellent writing and outstanding film performances particularly from Meryl Streep (Ricki Randazzo) and Mamie Gummer (Julie Brummel) both of should be nominated for Academy Awards. Ms. Streep learned to play the electric guitar for this film and plays as if she’d been doing it her whole life and sings all the songs live, not pre-recorded for the film. The character she plays cannot be easily defined since she appears to have clearly Republican sentiments in a very liberal world that she inhabits. She is deeply flawed, having basically abandoned her family years before for a singing career in So. Calif. and yet you still like her. Kevin Kline (Pete Brummel) plays her ex-husband, a very well to do businessman and Audra MacDonald his second wife who had to take over parental duties when Ricki left her family, including her three children. Mamie Gummer plays Ricki’s only daughter whose husband has just left her and is emotionally devastated prompting Pete to summon Ricki home to see if she can somehow help her ailing daughter. The most powerful line in the script is probably delivered by Ricki’s boyfriend played by Rick Springfield (Greg) who tells her that it is her duty as a mother to love her children unconditionally, even if they don’t love her, at least outwardly. All families are dysfunctional to a certain degree, some far worst than others and this film provides much food for thought, ending on a very positive note.
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