Life is about the connections we make with other people and the stories that come out of each interaction. At least, that’s the message Lorene Scafaria is sending us with her latest film, “The Meddler.” Starring Susan Sarandon as a fast-talking, kind-hearted and stereotypical mom with zero boundaries, The Meddler is the movie you didn’t know you needed.
Its story kicks off with an age-old premise: older woman loses husband, is left with a ton of money and even more free time, which she spends micromanaging the hell out of her successful but depressed 30-something daughter Lori (Rose Byrne). What begins with the promise of a superficial plotline slowly develops into a riveting exploration of loss. Scene stealer in her own right, Sarandon as Marnie Minervini puts on an impeccable performance.
“…which she spends micromanaging the hell out of her successful but depressed 30-something daughter…”
Sarandon’s Marnie is an intricately complex person, always armed with a smile & refreshing interest in others while simultaneously hiding grief over the loss of her husband. She draws you in with a tendency towards rambling endlessly and grandiose acts of kindness; from throwing extravagant lesbian weddings for her daughter’s friends to sponsoring the future of a low-income student.
The namesake of The Meddler is clear from Marnie’s overbearing relationship with her daughter. Over the top at times – I mean, the daily voicemails and showing up unannounced would drive any of us nuts – we learn that playing the role of meddling mother is the way in which she manages her pain. Still irresistible in her appeal, Sarandon brings to life a character that seeks out genuine connections with strangers. Apple-store employee Freddy (Jerrod Carmichael) and cop-turned-chicken-farmer Zipper (J.K. Simmons) are amongst the many drawn in by her sunny charm. While the supporting cast is strong, they almost fade away to background noise in comparison to our leading lady. The real magic here is Sarandon, who gifts us with a raw portrayal of what it means to heal.
Sure to make you laugh, cry and call your mom (in no particular order), The Meddler is a heartwarming and surprisingly deeply satisfying film about the power of relationships and moving on.
The Meddler (2017) Written and directed by Lorene Scafaria. Starring Susan Sarandon, Rose Byrne, J.K. Simmons, Jerrod Carmichael, Cecily Strong, and Lucy Punch.
4.5 out of 5 stars