“Ricki and the Flash” tells a familiar tale, a staple of rock bios: A rising star is forced to choose between fame and fans, on the one hand, and domestic responsibilities on the other. Years later, the musician apologizes for all times he wasn’t there, for all the months, maybe years, that he disappeared from his family’s lives. Will they take him back?
Except Ricki is a woman, and played by Meryl Streep. The gender flip adds new intrigue to a stale scenario and asks still-relevant questions about whether some women really do have to choose between work and family. Ricki never made it big, but she still chose the road over home — a decision that her kids (Sebastian Stan and Streep’s real-life daughter Mamie Gummer), as well as her ex’s second wife (Audra McDonald), still hold against her.
You can guess what happens next: Ricki promises to do better by her family, and probably will. There’s a big cheese factor involved here, but who doesn’t mind a little warm and gooey counterprogramming during summer? Plus, there’s the wonderful sight of Streep doing her best Stevie Nicks — complete with a giant American flag back tattoo.
Written by Diablo Cody, “Ricki and the Flash” opens August 7.