DVD movie commentary

Problems are loathed, because they bring people down, and sometimes they are invisible but present. What if a problem kept on niggling away at you? You may be looking for a way out.

I hate to be stuck on a problem or any problem. I just want to get on with life. So I hope problems are just highlighters that say, there is a better way.

Meryl Streep (Pictured) seamlessly morphs into another character as Ricki. Image sourced via google images.
Meryl Streep (Pictured).  Image sourced via google images.

In Ricki and the Flash (2015, USA), Ricki (Meryl Streep) is an over the counter person. Over the counter people are supposed to make the customer feel like the most special person in the store (or is that the world?).

They are people, too, and people can have problems. Ricki makes an off handed comment to a customer and he gives her a quizzical look as if saying that she wasn’t what supposed to say that. Ricki’s supervisor comes up and tells her she shouldn’t make the customer feel alienated. Then Ricki serves the next customer with a smile and a hello.

Perhaps customer service is a thankless job, but the people behind the smiley face are people after all.

At night, Ricki has gigs and a guy in her band The Flash fancies her, who happens to be played by Rick Springfield, the rock star who had a major hit, I recall, with Jessie’s Girl in the 1970s.

Kevin Kline (Pictured). Image sourced via google images.
Kevin Kline (Pictured). Image sourced via google images.

She can barely afford the airline ticket across the States to see her daughter who’s going through a hard time, but she flies to Indianapolis, the place of her former husband, played by Kevin Kline. That is where her daughter (Mamie Gummer) is going through a crisis and Ricki gets some of blame for her daughter’s problem when she arrives there.

Ricki’s daughter blames Ricki for getting divorced from her father. She is going through her own separation and struggling with mental health issues. Ricki is there to somehow reconnect with her, if she can. The comedy is that Ricki has her own unique problems so helping someone else seems a step too far.

Hollywood is good at depicting the problems people go through in life. Hollywood may be filmmaking experts at dealing with people’s problems.

I think back to Leaving Las Vegas (1995, USA), which was about an alcoholic connecting emotionally with a prostitute, but both going through personal hells.

Ricki’s gigging late at night leaves you asking why she would still do it. She’s also harangued by the problems that others bring up, but she makes it clear that their lives are not a bed of roses, either.

The problems come to a head for Ricki’s whole family at a restaurant, which is a familiar place for problem sharing at the movies, where problem comedy meets problem drama. Before this lack of family decorum, feelings were boiling over in a touchy incident in a café, which also involved bewildered strangers.

Life is full of problems, especially at restaurants it seems.

However, Ricki does not have to be stuck there, according to Ricki and the Flash.

Though I don’t go along with all the situations in this movie, Ricki’s problems are present to make her see there must be a way forward.

Rated PG-13 Contains drug use, coarse language, and sexual references

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