{Film Review} The Meddler

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It’s a truth universally acknowledged that a film trailer tends to either spoil an entire movie in three minutes or completely misrepresent the plot–preparing the viewer for, say, a comedy rather than a fairly serious dramedy.

The Meddler’s trailer perpetrated the latter of these two sins. I sat down to watch The Meddler because I wanted a funny, heartwarming comedy about a mother and her adult daughter. What I got wasn’t bad, but it certainly wasn’t that.


The Meddler is actually about Marnie, a sixty-something Brooklynite who moved to Los Angeles after her husband died to be near her daughter. Unfortunately, her daughter’s dealing with her own problems and doesn’t want anything to do with her mother’s constant intrusions. Marnie’s forced to keep herself busy by befriending an Apple Store employee, helping one of her daughter’s friends plan a vow renewal ceremony, and volunteering at a hospital. When she happens to meet a retired cop on a film set, she’s forced to face the fact that she might still be holding onto her husband. The question is whether or not she can let go.

Susan Sarandon definitely shone as Marnie. I haven’t watched her in much besides Enchanted, but I liked her in this role. She conveyed the confusion, sadness, and enthusiasm of Marnie in a real and sympathetic way. It was easy to root for her to have a happy ending–particularly when that happy ending included J. K. Simmons as a chicken-owning, retired cop. (He played Dolly Parton for his chickens. Can you say “What a catch?”)

The chemistry between the two potential lovebirds was just wonderful, and while the romantic subplot of the film is secondary, I almost wish it and the relationship between Marnie and her daughter were more in the forefront of the film. This is a story about grief, but J. K. Simmons and Rose Byrne are so lovely that you kind of want it to be that funny, mother-daughter rom-com the trailer promised.

Not that the film isn’t successful as is. I loved Marnie and all of her sweetly madcap antics. As always, it was refreshing to watch a film featuring a lead actress over the age of fifty–especially when that actress was not British or Meryl Streep. I also liked how the film represented Marnie’s relationship with her daughter in all its complicated glory. If I can, I want to track down more films about mothers and their adult daughters (and by adult, I mean over the age of twenty-five at least). I’m not sure how that search will go, but it was nice to see non-cliqued mother/adult daughter relationship on screen and I need more.

While The Meddler isn’t a movie I’ll probably go back to again, I did thoroughly enjoy watching it. I actually wish my mother had gotten to watch it with me because I think she would have appreciated Marnie (even though she doesn’t like Susan Sarandon) and the chicken subplot (she knows I want chickens someday). I’d definitely recommend giving The Meddler a try if you like your films bittersweet, and if you can, don’t make my mistake. Make your mama watch it with you.

Also Try. . .

  • Beginners
  • This is Where I Leave You
  • Evening

What’s your favorite movie about mother/daughter relationships?


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