The Meddler

2016-08-05 08:20

What it's about:

Marnie, a lonely and heartbroken widow, moves across America from New York City to Los Angeles to be closer to her daughter, Lori, following the death of her husband. Relocating in the hope of starting a brand new chapter, she begins interfering with Lori's life, only to meet a number of people who are in need of her special skill set.

What we thought:

Everyone has gone through the loss of a loved one, and it can be hard to let go of that pain when everyone else seems to be moving on with their lives. The Meddler at surface seems to be about a mother that loves to interfere with her daughter’s depressing life, but at heart is about unattended grief, hiding beneath the surface until it seeps into everyday life. Slow-paced and a seemingly uneventful film, it focuses rather on the relationships that help mend broken hearts.

After the death of her husband, a widow (Susan Sarandon) follows her daughter (Rose Byrne) to Los Angeles trying to restart her life and kill all her free time, and after her daughter flees for work she starts connecting with her daughter’s friends and other strangers, including a handsome ex-cop (J.K. Simmons).

The Meddler is not aimed at the millennial generation but rather at the baby boomers, the parents with grown up children and potentially deceased/divorced spouses. Although I enjoyed the film for Sarandon and Simmons, I struggled to really connect with the main character mostly because I am not the target audience. I can appreciate the film for its very subtle witty writing without clichéd tropes and characterisation, but as far as interest in the subject matter it was unfortunately limited.

Sarandon is of course a fantastic actress and the combination with writer/director Lorene Scafaria (Seeking a Friend for the End of the World) brings forth that feminine power that can be lacking when men direct women leads. Sarandon’s quirkiness and Simmons’ beautiful moustache make a great pair, and can’t believe they haven’t been on screen together before. Rose Byrne, who plays the depressed daughter did well enough, but nothing compared to her classic comedic roles in which she excels. 

Although it would appear as a rom-com, The Meddler is much too serious and quirky for that, playing both to your smile muscles and heartstrings. Nothing would make you gag with laughter, but it will illicit a coy smile, and then subtly let the pain of loss seep through the dialogue without you noticing it until it becomes vital to the plot. Scafaria is a great intelligent writer and rather lets the audience figure it out for themselves than spelling it out for them.

A great film if you feel like taking your parents to the movies, but a little too mature for a first date. It might be a more original film than what’s come out of Hollywood these days, but definitely leans more towards the dull side of cinema, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing in this case.

Read more on:    susan sarandon  |  movies

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