Written by Diablo Cody (of Juno fame), Ricki tells the story of an aspiring aging rocker (Streep), who abandons her role as a Midwestern mom to chase dreams of being a singer in California. When Ricki finally has the chance to make up for lost time with her family, she is brutalized by just how much her children have changed since she headed west.
The film is a treat for plenty of reasons, key among them that Rick Springfield co-stars and shows a depth we never saw in his ’80s turn as a heartthrob and Top 40 hitmaker. Yet, beyond the rockin’ tunes and Streep’s superb abilities, Ricki will resonate with parents of adult kids for other reasons. The film aptly demonstrates three life truths that are well-known among the midlife crowd:
1. Regrets. Some of us have way more than a few.
Despite following her dream of becoming a professional musician, Ricki’s life isn’t free from regret. The truth is, it’s hard to make it to midlife without making at least a few big mistakes.
Occasionally regretting the past is normal, but forgiving yourself should be high on your list of priorities. Forgiveness doesn’t have to mean forgetting the past, or letting harmful people back into your life. It does mean, though, that you can begin to move forward. Sometimes acknowledging a mistake is the first step in repairing the damage it has done.
2. Parenting is not easy.
Being a parent is hard. While Ricki’s tussles with her grown children have unique context, the issues she faces aren’t much different than those faced by any middle-age parent trying to do right by his or her kids. Children grow up. And the complexities of young adult life — first loves, first heartbreaks, personal discoveries — can cause twentysomethings to turn to mom and dad for comfort and support.
3. It’s never too late to change course.
Perhaps more than anything else, Ricki’s story reminds us that while life offers no do-overs, it’ never too late to correct course. Sure, Ricki can’t go back in time and become the perfect PTA president type of mom, but she can reconstruct meaningful relationships with her children now.
Whether it’s finally getting fit, exploring one’s true passion, healing a broken relationship or anything else, taking positive action today puts us back on track toward a fuller and more rewarding life.
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