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Film Reviews

0469 | The Eagle Has Landed

I have a soft spot for 1960s and 1970s adventure films set during the Second World War. You know the kind: big ensemble cast, some daring mission or other that needs to be undertaken with little or no chance of survival for the soldiers in question, and usually there’s lots of heroic derring-do to enjoy. Some of them have aged very well: The Guns Of Navarone and The Dirty Dozen spring to mind, and I’ve watched both within the past five years. Some of them haven’t aged well at all, and that’s the case for John Sturges’ final film The Eagle Has Landed, though it’s still far better than the worst dregs thrown-up by the genre (and by the same production company). Sturges was rightly respected going into this project, having helmed big hits like Bad Day At Black Rock, Gunfight At The O.K. Corral, The Magnificent Seven and The Great Escape during a long, impressive career. Indeed the notable names who signed up for what would turn out to be his last film – Michael Caine, Donald Sutherland, Robert Duvall, Jenny Agutter, Donald Pleasance – must have hoped that the veteran director was lining up yet another cracker. Sadly Sturges was only in it for one last paycheck, and confessed as much on-set to Caine, telling his lead actor that he only took the job to pay for a fishing trip. Reports suggest Sturges left as soon as filming wrapped, and had no involvement in post-production, leaving Editor Anne V. Coates to salvage the movie. Actually the film Coates helped to put together is structurally fine, even though it’s a little light on action until the grand finale (which is hardly her fault), and proved popular both with critics and the general public at the time of release. The plot – a bunch of German soldiers led by Caine’s General parachute into a sleepy Norfolk village to try and kidnap Winston Churchill – is paper-thin, and the premise is established within the first two minutes by an eyepatch-sporting Nazi (played by Robert Duvall, of all people). What follows is a slightly tedious 90-minute build-up in which the undercover German soldiers are joined in England by an IRA-supporting Irish academic (Donald Sutherland) and Jean Marsh’s sleeper agent; together they attempt to carry out the abduction after their cover is blown and a company of American soldiers stationed nearby is alerted to their presence.

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Robert Duvall plays a German Robert Duvall with an eye patch

Tom Mankiewicz’s screenplay is largely faithful to Jack Higgins’ original novel but the film is completely undermined by poor writing and some very dodgy performances (I’m looking at you, Sutherland, but Caine is poor here too). Part of the problem stems from the way the main protagonists have been ‘softened’ to make the characters and their actions more palatable to English-speaking audiences: Caine is a ‘nice’ Nazi – we first see him saving the life of a Jewish woman, who is shot by someone else seconds later anway – and Sutherland is the kind of IRA supporter who you could take home to meet the parentsa bit cheeky, drinks a lot of whiskey, prefers poetry to violence, seems to genuinely like English people. (It really doesn’t help matters that it’s one of the worst cases of an Oirish stereotype you’ll ever see in a movie.) It’s no surprise that these two actors struggled with their parts in light of Sturges’ own lack of interest in the film, though. Sadly it seems like the director couldn’t be bothered to ensure his cast followed a uniform accent policy, either. Even though everyone speaks English throughout the film some actors make an effort to adopt the accent relating to their character’s nationality, and some do not. During the one scene involving all three stars – Duvall, Caine and Sutherland – it means you have to watch an Englishman playing a German with an English accent, an American playing a German with a German accent and an American playing an Irishman with an accent that veers from full-on ‘Ah, t’be sure, t’be sure’ to some weird mid-Atlantic drawl. It’s possible that 1970s audiences didn’t care a jot and just wanted to be entertained with a few shootouts and a spot of implausible romance, but there’s no two ways about it: it sounds terrible today. It’s left, somewhat bizarrely, for two American actors in minor pre-fame roles to save the day: Larry Hagman and Treat Williams restore an air of slight respectability during the final act, and Caine’s performance also improves, but it’s too late to save the film. Even Lalo Schifrin’s score reflects the dourness of the piece, and has an air of ‘will this do?’ about it. Oh for something like this instead.

Directed by: John Sturges.
Written by: Tom Mankiewicz. Based on The Eagle Has Landed by Jack Higgins.
Starring: Michael Caine, Donald Sutherland, Robert Duvall, Jenny Agutter, Donald Pleasance, Anthony Quayle, Jean Marsh, Larry Hagman, Treat Williams.
Cinematography: Anthony B. Richmond.
Editing: Anne V. Coates.
Music: Lalo Schifrin.
Certificate:
15.
Running Time:
115 minutes.
Year:
1976.

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Film Reviews

0468 | Manglehorn

David Gordon Green has been trying to remake Dario Argento’s Suspiria for a number of years now. Last year he announced that the seven-year-old project wasn’t dead, as previously thought, but that he would produce and he was looking for a director to take on the work. Watching his recent drama Manglehorn with that in mind proves to be an interesting experience, for in Manglehorn Green experiments with certain visual techniques that are synonymous with cult horror, particularly giallo: heavy colour saturation, strange lysergic dream sequences and acid-y overlays abound, and in light of his decision to pass on directorial duties for Suspiria you could argue that Green was working something out of his system here. The input of long-term DP collaborator Tim Orr is key. In an interview last year Orr explained they were going for a striking colour palette – neon pinks, bright yellows and pastels – and although he cites Nicolas Winding Refn’s Only God Forgives as a major influence there are brief moments where Green’s latest clearly resembles cheaply-made psychedelic horror from the 1970s. It’s completely at odds with the setting and the story, a simple tale about a Texan locksmith who can’t forget about the woman he once loved and who struggles to maintain a relationship with his high-flying financier son. However it does at least indicate that Green is taking the post-Malickian style for which he has become known into new, and interesting, places, even if the subject matter doesn’t quite fit; these sudden garish interludes are the highlights of the film.

Al Pacino stars as AJ Manglehorn, a grumpy (perhaps depressed) old man who is attached to his cat and not much else, though he has taken a shine to Holly Hunter’s kind bank teller Dawn. Manglehorn’s fug seems to have enveloped him for a number of reasons: he writes and posts letters to his long-lost love but they come back with ‘return to sender’ stamps, he has a strained relationship with his son (Chris Messina), his cat is seriously ill and his daily routine of helping people who have locked themselves out of their houses and vehicles has begun to take its toll. The screenplay initially had Manglehorn down as an ex-con, which would provide a valid (if entirely predictable) reason for his safecracking/lock-picking skills, but Green left all of the scenes referring to this background on the cutting room floor, and instead we only get references to AJ’s earlier career as a high school football coach (delivered by a bombed-out owner of a tanning salon/massage parlour/brothel played by Harmony Korine). Not a great deal happens as Manglehorn attempts to move on with his life but, as mentioned above, it’s a film that leans heavily on visual trickery to create an off-kilter, out-of-place mood, and part of the pleasure is revelling in this dreamlike, otherworldly state, through which Pacino staggers appropriately. The actor dials down his usual level of scenery-chewing here but somehow still manages to overact – he’s always doing or saying something to command your attention – but at least all the fiddling with his hands reveals the character’s uneasy inner state, and when all is said and done he still has a voice that’s a treat to listen to. Manglehorn‘s hampered by the fact that all of writer Paul Logan’s characters seem to have been taken from entirely different stories before being lumped together here, and it’s thin on plot, but it’s interesting to see Pacino stretch himself by appearing in a film that’s a little more experimental than usual. There’s also a cool avant-garde soundtrack collaboration between David Wingo and Explosions In The Sky.

Directed by: David Gordon Green.
Written by: Paul Logan.
Starring: Al Pacino, Holly Hunter, Harmony Korine, Chris Messina.
Cinematography: Tim Orr.
Editing: Colin Patton.
Music: David Wingo, Explosions In The Sky.
Certificate: 
12A.
Running Time:
95 minutes.
Year:
2015.

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Film Reviews

0467 | Okuribito (Departures)

The main protagonist in Yōjirō Takita’s bittersweet Departures is Daigo (played by former boyband star Masahiro Motoki), a cellist who loses his job in a Tokyo-based orchestra at the start of the film. Daigo sells his recently-purchased cello and returns to his rural hometown with wife Mika (Ryōko Hirosue) to live in the house left to him by his late mother. There he gets a new job preparing dead bodies for encoffinment, working under the watchful eye of boss Sasaki (Tsutomu Yamazaki). However, rather than settling down into a new life and a period of relative stability, Daigo has mixed thoughts about this line of work. The job appears to carry with it a degree of social stigma: traditionally those who work with corpses in Japan have been seen as unclean, which explains why Daigo lies about the nature of his new job to Mika. The opinion of the work held by some members of society is summed up when one character mourning the loss of a loved one scoffs at Sasaki and Daigo because they make their living from the dead. However when you see the intricate ritual that takes place – in accordance with Buddhist rites – it seems bizarre that the job does not command anything other than respect; both Daigo and Sasaki take great care preparing dead bodies for funerals, travelling to the houses owned by the deceased before washing, re-clothing and applying make-up to the body in front of close family and friends. They are sympathetic to the mourners, smartly attired, and unflappable in a crisis, and the job is clearly suitable only for those with a certain degree of resolve and people skills. Takita’s oft-repeated trick is to bring in flashes of inappropriate black comedy during the otherwise calm and mesmerising scenes that depict the rituals, such as the brief panic caused when the pair find a male appendage on a trans woman who died while still in the process of transitioning, or a scene in which loved ones bicker over who is at fault for a young girl’s death. This is an attempt to soften the subject matter in order to not put off audience members, and it’s interesting to note that most of the dead bodies the pair deal with belong to women who were young and pretty, and who haven’t been disfigured by accidents or ravaged by illnesses. Indeed when the pair are called to work on the body of an older lady who has been dead for two weeks, but only just discovered by the authorities, it’s noticable that Takita doesn’t film the body in question, only Daigo’s reaction to it.

Though the nature of the job, and Mika’s opinion of it, is problematic, Daigo’s inner turmoil also stems from earlier memories: the break-up of his parents, after which he lost contact with his father, is still a source of anguish, particularly as Daigo’s father encouraged him as a budding musician before the split. Returning to the family home obviously causes these long-buried issues to surface, and Daigo also feels guilty for not being around as much as he ought to have been during his mother’s illness (as such his work with Sasaki can be viewed as a kind of penance, even though he applies for the job without knowing what it entails). All of these factors gradually come to a head, but the problems in Daigo’s life are eventually taken care of by Kundō Koyama’s screenplay, which cleverly brings new life into the equation at the very end of a story otherwise entirely concerned with death (though birth is hinted at throughout via shots of cherry blossom blooming).

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Ryōko Hirosue in Departures

Departures was a surprise winner when it picked up the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar in 2009, upsetting the odds to beat clear favourite Waltz With Bashir. Perhaps the surprise stemmed from the fact that Takita’s film is very sentimental, arguably cloyingly so at times, and thus not the kind of thing usually chosen by voters supposedly hardened to such mawkishness. Its good nature won me over, though, and smothered the doubts I had about some of its characters. (Well, principally Mika, who obediently agrees to follow the rather selfish Daigo back to his mother’s house, thereby jacking in her own career and leaving friends and family behind without so much as a single complaint, at least not until much later in the film.) The movie’s best passages are the extended scenes showing the funeral ritual, and the different ways in which mourners cope with death. It feels like a shame when moments of awkward comedy butt in and change the tone, an act of self-sabotage by Takita that instantly demolishes the atmosphere he repeatedly builds, though you could argue Departures would be a much flatter affair without these sudden comic sparks. Largely taking place in small, traditional houses and featuring gathered family members, it’s hard not to think of Ozu during these scenes, and the great Japanese director casts an ominous shadow as with the work of Hirokazu Koreeda, but Takita does at least refrain from keeping a cool distance and shoots his characters close-up, emphasising their emotional changes. When the action moves away from these fascinating rituals it becomes clearer that Departures isn’t concerned with a person’s death as much as it’s concerned with what they leave behind, how they are mourned, and the way in which their passing leaves an unfillable gap. These themes ripple through the lives of Daigo, Sasaki and the people briefly employing them.

Directed by: Yōjirō Takita.
Written by: Kundō Koyama.
Starring: Masahiro Motoki, Ryōko Hirosue, Tsutomu Yamazaki, Kimiko Yo.
Cinematography: Takeshi Hamada.
Editing: Akimasa Kawashima.
Music: Joe Hisaishi.
Certificate: 
12A.
Running Time:
130 minutes.
Year:
2008.

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Film Reviews

0466 | Hrútar (Rams)

So you’re either interested in an Icelandic drama about a pair of fraternal sheep farmers who haven’t spoken in 40 years and must deal with the effects of degeneritive disease scrapie on their respective flocks, or you’re not. Those who take a punt on Grímur Hákonarson’s Rams will be rewarded with a fine film that serves as a touching character study as well as a fascinating glimpse into the travails faced by a rural community. It also sheds light on the bond that sheep farmers form with their herds, which is the kind of thing that will inevitably draw snickering from some quarters but Popcorn Nights is above such idiocy, so that’s one in the eye for ewe. (See also last year’s documentary Addicted To Sheep.) The two brothers in question here are Gummi and Kiddi, played by Sigurður Sigurjónsson and Theodór Júlíusson respectively, and they own patches of land that share a border but were once combined to make one family plot. The brothers fell out over something – it’s never really clear what, but it may have been to do with the way their inheritence was divided, or perhaps as neither have ever married it could have been over a girl – and their stubbornness has resulted in four decades’ worth of silence. When they do need to communicate it involves pointing or passing hand-written messages back-and-forth using by a sheepdog, although Kiddi – the more aggressive of the two who douses his own unhappiness with alcohol – has a penchant for expressing displeasure by getting absolutely plastered and firing a gun at his brother’s bedroom window.

As a result of their fractured relationship both brothers desperately want to win the annual ‘Best Ram’ competition that takes place in a nearby town. In the aftermath of one of these events it’s discovered that some of the sheep have scrapie, necessitating a culling of both men’s flocks and those of many other farmers in the same valley. These events gradually force the two brothers to address their long-simmering hatred, lest the family tradition be lost forever. Hákonarson, who wrote the screenplay, turns a fairly simple premise into an engaging and profoundly moving piece, superbly acted by both leads, that skillfully negotiates the fine line between comedy and tragedy. The link between head-butting rams and head-strong warring brothers is obvious but never overplayed during the film, while their personality differences are not simply manifest through shouting matches, and are instead carefully described through a number of well-observed interactions, both with other humans and with their own animals. Similarly the director doesn’t overplay the symbolic nature of the flock: when the sheep are gone there will be no reason for Gummi and Kiddi to remain living next door to one another, and given their old age it would be difficult for either of them to start afresh and carry on as farmers; the culling of the sheep will surely spell the end of this family, so Gummi’s actions in the film are informed not just through love for his animals but because of what these sheep stand for. Sturla Brandth Grøvlen’s cinematography is naturally informed by the landscape’s shades of green, brown and blue, which gives way to the white of snow and the black of volcanic rock as winter takes hold; the Icelandic countryside filmed is as spectacular as it is bleak. Natural light is relied upon for the scenes set indoors, and there’s something enjoyable about watching the men rattle around in their homes, which are cluttered with all manner of useful farming tools and objects. With sure-handed direction, a suitably morose soundtrack by Atli Örvarsson, a well-written screenplay and some fine acting, particularly by Sigurjónsson, who has the bigger role, Rams is well worth your time.

Directed by: Grímur Hákonarson.
Written by: Grímur Hákonarson.
Starring: Sigurður Sigurjónsson, Theodór Júlíusson, Charlotte Bøving, Jon Benonysson.
Cinematography: Sturla Brandth Grøvlen.
Editing: Kristján Loðmfjörð.
Music: Atli Örvarsson.
Certificate: 
15.
Running Time:
91 minutes.
Year:
2016.

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Film Reviews

0465 | The Assassin

The Assassin arrived in UK cinemas last month with a big reputation. It’s the latest film by acclaimed Taiwanese director Hou Hsiao-Hsien, it earned rave reviews after it was screened during the 2015 Cannes Film Festival – where Hou won the Best Director award – and it figured highly on the majority of the year’s ‘best of’ lists written by critics who had caught it in competition; Sight & Sound recently named it their ‘best film of 2015’. Much of the praise bestowed upon film and director has centred around the abundance of beautiful images, and there are certainly enough here to please anyone with a love of formal, visually-striking cinema, while a deftly-constructed enigmatic aura also had critics foaming at the mouth before collectively putting finger to keyboard. Yet The Assassin‘s elliptical nature means that it has been met with something of a backlash now that more people can finally see it: it is hard to stay abreast of the plot here, even though it’s not impossible to do so, which means it’s no surprise that some critics have broken rank to express their (entirely valid) frustrations with the film. Reports of paying customers walking out of the cinema have also surfaced, which is a shame, even though it’s not the first arthouse film to alienate people and it certainly won’t be the last. It probably hasn’t helped matters that The Assassin‘s trailer leaned heavily on the film’s few, brief martial arts sequences, which perhaps do it a disservice; this is Hou’s first foray into the wuxia genre, yes, but it is much slower and far less reliant on action taking place in the jianghu than, say, Zhang Yimou’s crossover hits Hero and House Of Flying Daggers.

It’s evident from very early on that you’re watching a film in which a lot of care and attention has been given to every single shot. It’s an aesthetically-pleasing work for all sorts of reasons. Shot using a variety of different ratios (the monochrome prologue is in Academy 1:1.37, the rest is at 1:1.41, and Hou makes brief use of an even wider ratio), there are a number of beautiful sequences set inside a governor’s palace, and the work that has gone into the mise-en-scène and the costume design, historically-accurate by all accounts, is indeed impressive; it’s worth a second viewing just to look at the fabrics on show. Hou’s cinematographer Mark Lee Ping Bin captures a series of luscious shots outdoors, too, with exquisite photography of green fields and forests gracing the picture. A number of slow, tracking shots allow you to drink in the natural beauty. Throughout all of these locations we follow trained assassin Nie Yinniang (Shu Qi) as she undergoes a test set by her master; the main question is whether Nie has the resolve to kill her target and cousin Tian Ji’an (Chang Chen), the military governor of Weibo to whom she was once betrothed. The enigmatic nature of Hou’s film means that Nie’s love for Tian (and the pain caused by their subsequent forced separation) is teased out gradually, and (as far as I could tell) is never explicitly stated, but the two lead performances are successful in conveying their mixed emotions, particularly Shu Qi. The scenes featuring this pair in and around the palace are fascinating, especially as they manage to drive home the story’s nature versus nurture theme as it applies to the titular assassin, who was taken away for training at the age of ten and returns as a 23-year-old woman, but it’s only half the story. Hou emphasises the relationships between Nie and the other female characters just as much, if not more, and they’re more clearly defined. These include Nie’s opponent Lady Tian (Zhou Yun), Tian Ji’ans wife and – as it turns out – a worthy fighting opponent, and Jiaxin (Fang-Yi Sheu), the princess-turned-nun who trained Nie from an early age to become a killer. In fact the film is bookended by scenes that explore the changing relationship between Nie and her master, as clear an indication as any that this is what The Assassin is really about, as opposed to it being Tian Ji’an and Nie’s love story. (Somewhat confusingly Fang-Yi Sheu actually plays two characters, twin sisters, which is perhaps one of the reasons some have found the story confusing.)

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Tian Ji’an, played by Chang Chen

Hou’s obtuseness is deliberate, and although I appreciate that many people have no problem coping with the feeling of being lost during a screening, it gnawed away at me and I never felt relaxed enough to enjoy myself which, after all, is the whole point, right? (I probably should have taken Mark Kermode’s advice; he suggested a lot of viewers would benefit from reading an outline of the plot beforehand, or perhaps by brushing up on their knoweldge of 9th Century Tang period history, culture and society.) In this case my lack of understanding as to who some of the main characters were, or the nature of their relationships with one another, presented a barrier that I couldn’t overcome while watching the film. As with Godard’s Goodbye To Language – another Sight & Sound poll-topper – I was left trying to balance a vague feeling of cinematic inadequacy (when you feel something is flying over your head that has won the adoration of critics) with honest common sense (put simply there’s no right or wrong way to feel about a movie and if you watch enough of them it won’t be long before one frustrates). Everyone reacts to art in different ways and the most important thing – if you’re going to write about it afterwards, at any rate – is to be honest. So yeah, I found The Assassin to be a frustrating experience at times, but I couldn’t possibly dismiss the film outright and I can see why it has been so highly praised. Regardless of anything else The Assassin does look very good indeed. Likely your enjoyment of it will come down to whether or not you’re happy to proceed without a firm grasp on the plot and to simply bathe in its beauty. Of course you can always fill in the gaps by reading about the film before or after you watch it. For what it’s worth I feel fairly sure I’ll enjoy the experience of watching The Assassin more next time, and will get more from it now that I have a slightly better understanding of the story.

Directed by: Hou Hsiao-Hsien.
Written by: Hou Hsiao-Hsien, Chu Tien-wen, Hsieh Hai-Meng, Zhong Acheng.
Starring: Shu Qi, Chang Chen, Zhou Yun, Hsieh Hsin-Ying, Fang-Yi Sheu, Satoshi Tsumabuki, Ethan Juan.
Cinematography: Mark Lee Ping Bin.
Editing: Huang Chih-Chia
Music: Lim Giong.
Certificate: 
12A.
Running Time: 
105 minutes.
Year:
2016.

 

 

 

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Film Reviews

0464 | Le Dernier Diamant (The Last Diamond)

This new release is the fifth film by French director Éric Barbier, but the first that I’ve seen. It’s a heist movie set in Paris and Antwerp, starring Yvan Attal as a safecracking jewel thief and Bérénice Bejo as the exhibitor / seller of a 137-carat diamond, and it spends a lot of time following time-worn heist movie tropes, i.e. we get the scene in which several men (it’s always several men) sit around in a dark, smoke-filled room (it’s always a dark, smoke-filled room) overcomplicating the mechanics of the robbery plan (they always overcomplicate the mechanics of the robbery plan) before the heist itself segues into an aftermath of deceit and double-crossing (the heist itself always segues into an aftermath of deceit and double-crossing). Barbier struggles to settle on a clear tone as he lurches from comedy to action, and somewhat inevitably a splash of romance is thrown into the mix when the two main characters sleep together and miraculously fall in love overnight, thereby jeapordising the smooth running of the operation. Sometimes heist films can go through all the motions and still be thoroughly entertaining – look no further than the so-smugly-confident-you-can’t-help-but-buy-into-it Oceans Eleven remake for evidence – but sadly The Last Diamond is a dreary affair until the heist takes place. Things pick up briefly during said theft, and a subsequent daring attempt to recover the diamond from murderous bad guy Scylla (Antoine Basler), but the rest of the film is about as thrilling as watching someone fill out a tax return. Hopeful viewers looking to the co-stars to spice up the material will be disappointed: both leads deliver flat performances and make for an unlikely romantic pairing.

Directed by: Éric Barbier.
Written by: Éric Barbier, Marie Eynard, Trân-Minh Nam.
Starring: Yvan Attal, Bérénice Bejo, Antoine Basler, Isaka Sawadogo, Jean-François Stévenin.
Cinematography: Denis Rouden.
Editing: Jennifer Augé.
Music: Renaud Barbier.
Certificate: 
15.
Running Time: 
106 minutes.
Year:
2016.

 

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Film Reviews

0463 | Ricki And The Flash

Proud Republican Ricki (Meryl Streep) is the singer and The Flash are her backing band in Jonathan Demme’s middling drama, which is hampered by a fairly pedestrian screenplay by Diablo Cody. The basic conceit here is that Ricki skipped out on her family in the 1980s with the dream of becoming a rock star, but after one album her career stalled, and now she’s playing cover versions of other people’s songs (Springsteen, Tom Petty, U2, and so on) in bars with her new act while working during the day as a supermarket cashier. She has entered into a relationship with the guitarist from The Flash, who is played with warmth and charm by Rick Springfield, but her children are frosty towards her at best and her husband, played by a typically unobtrusive Kevin Kline, has remarried. The barroom AOR takes a back seat for the first hour as Ricki leaves Los Angeles to visit her Indianapolis-based family in the wake of a suicide attempt by depressed daughter Julie (Streep’s real-life daughter Mamie Gummer). There are home truths and snide remarks aplenty in these scenes, with a sprinkling of conciliation and bonding, and then Demme gradually lets the music seep back in as Ricki heads home and later turns up to play at her son’s stuffy wedding. This is one of those movies where supposed decades of building resentment and serious current mental health issues can suddenly be put to one side by all and sundry because hey, a story in a film happens to be nearing its end, and yes, that’s mom up there on stage singing to the bride and groom, and although she has her flaws … she’s still mom. As a fucked-up musician character study it doesn’t compare favourably next to similar films, such as Scott Cooper’s Crazy Heart or Dan Fogelman’s equally-lighthearted Danny Collins, and it’s hard to buy into the idea of Streep as a rock n’ roll dreamer, though perhaps that does fit with the character’s own reinvention: Ricki’s real name is actually Linda and her children are embarassed and still slightly perplexed by her clothes, haircut and attitude, which they consider to be affected. That all said Streep clearly goes for it, and her character’s performances on stage look realistic; she learned to play guitar in preparation for the role, and was taught by no less a figure than Neil Young, the subject of a few of Demme’s documentaries.

Directed by: Jonathan Demme.
Written by: Diablo Cody.
Starring: Meryl Streep, Kevin Kline, Mamie Gummer, Rick Springfield, Sebastian Stan, Ben Platt, Audra McDonald.
Cinematography: Declan Quinn.
Editing: Wyatt Smith.
Music: Various.
Certificate: 
12A.
Running Time: 
101 minutes.
Year:
2015.