By Keeva Stratton
When a recently widowed mother decides to traverse the country and move in next to her adult daughter, she does not find that her presence, or her council, is as welcome as she’d hoped.
Marnie (Susan Sarandon), who lived in Brooklyn with her late husband, is loving her new LA lifestyle. It’s always sunny, and there seems to be so many things to do and people to see. Yet, somehow she’s got a lot of time on her hands, and thinks that her daughter, Lori (Rose Byrne), could benefit by sharing that time with her.
Unfortunately, Lori feels that she sees quite enough of her mother; and when work calls Lori back to New York, Marnie must finally find others to occupy her time.
During this process she stumbles upon Zipper (JK Simmons), who is immediately taken by Marnie’s charms. But, although the feelings appear mutual, Marnie is still very much grieving for her husband, and can’t seem to give herself permission to move on.
Marnie distracts herself by solving everyone else’s problems, but seems unwilling to face her own. What results is an unconventional story of self-discovery, and an exploration of the many-layered complexities of human emotions.
The Meddler shines a focus on the empty feeling of loneliness and the importance of having a sense of purpose in life. Marnie’s life has been that of a carer, and without people to care for, she suddenly finds herself lost. While initially she is able to find people to fuss over, ultimately she realises the person who needs her care the most is herself.
It’s a touching film, carried by some truly delightful performances. While incorporating the comedic skills she has become known for, Sarandon’s role of Lori also gives us a taste of the more dramatic nuances she is so adept at bringing to a character. Sarandon is sublime, and JK Simmons plays the perfect cool counter to her frenetic, overbearing character.
If you didn’t get around to treating your Mum for Mother’s Day, this is your chance to make it up to her. This tender film will provide the perfect setting to reconnect, laugh and cry at the strange dynamics between today’s modern adult ‘children’ and their parents.
Just be sure to bring a tissue or two, because The Meddler will surprise you with a few stirring moments that may just test the waterproof claims of your mascara.
Director: Lorene Scafaria
Stars: Susan Sarandon, Rose Byrne, J.K. Simmons
Runtime: 100 mins
Release Date: May 19
Reviewer Rating: 4/5