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Dear Ricky,

You are an unassuming and simple yet remarkably powerful story. Your single mom Katie is a chemical plant worker that leads a pretty conventional life raising her seven-year-old daughter. Things change quickly when she lusts after and meets fellow plant worker Paco and has an ‘at work’ illicit rendezvous. The familiar trope of a pregnancy and Paco moving in ensues and the stage is set for little Ricky to come along.

For a while everything seems so normal that you wonder where the story is. Then as Ricky enters his toddler phase the strain of family starts to show and drama builds, though Ricky does great growing like a weed. Then the lumps on his back start. Of course, something has to have caused them – and there is that moment of Katie’s accusation that causes such emotional damage, that instantly she is once again, a single parent.

Its not long when it becomes apparent that she has that unconditional mom’s love that doesn’t quite function logically when faced with the fact that Ricky is sprouting wings. As he and his wings grow, it’s poignant that mother, daughter and son enjoy such simple family joys tracking his progress, just like any toddler.

Then there is a somber moment of dramatic public display and the circus begins. When a doctor wants to study the ‘it’ that he perceives Ricky to be, Katie’s “mother alarms” are set off and of course the paparazzi soon get out of control. Shortly after the story breaks, Paco returns and the complexities mount.

Pausing here is when I realize the surrealism, and the bitter sweetness begins. Because you know this can’t end happily when they introduce Ricky to the paparazzi. When the unthinkable occurs there is that lingering moment of disbelief that is so rarely depicted well in film that the loss lingers and is palpable. Katie is nearly inconsolable and though Paco does all he can, her despondency deepens until you think she may be lost to herself.

Yet, as we meet Ricky one more time before the end, the surrealism hits a high note and I think anyone who sees this is never quite sure what the meeting represents and though the allusions are many and logical, the encounter ultimately lends a sad redemption to the unique tale that Ricky is. But that’s okay. It is at least some kind of redemption and intuitively feels apropos to the spirit of this film. And, you definitely have a redemptive spirit as we see Katie’s lingering last moments on screen.

It took a while for this feeling to reach inside of me, but as it lingered and I watched you a second time, I felt you deserved the melancholy place you carved in my heart. Sadness isn’t always so bad.

Fare thee well, fellow Ricky, I hope we can visit again!


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