The Meddler tells the story of Marnie (Susan Sarandon) a widow who moves from New York City to Los Angeles, to be closer to her daughter Lori (Rose Byrne). Marnie is desperate to be more involved in Lori’s life. She constantly calls her daughter and drops by, unannounced. When Lori goes away for work, Marnie is left to find other ways to express her need to be needed.
RATED: The Meddler is rated M for drug references and infrequent coarse language.
AUDIENCE: Mothers and adult daughters looking for a comedy drama that focuses on what their relationship might look like, they older they get.
WHAT’S GOOD: Sarandon does a fine, endearing job with a plum role for an older actress. Her pairing with Rose Bryne is believable and raw, while the presence of JK Simmons’ as a companion to Marnie is warm and welcomed. The depiction of Marnie’s aimless life is moving and strongly reveals how hard it can be to find meaning.
WHAT’S NOT: The movie’s title The Meddler gives the wrong impression about its central character. Writer-director Lorene Scafaria has created an overview of an ageing parent as if it’s from their child’s perspective – but that child hasn’t actually asked their parent what they are going through. Marnie isn’t so much a meddler as she’s overbearing and unaware of how needy she is. As we follow her search for meaning in LA, too many tangents and pointless scenes are included (there’s a totally needless sequence involving Marnie taking drugs). Also, things have a way of wrapping up a bit too neatly.
SPIRITUALLY SPEAKING: While The Meddler is the tale of Marnie coming to realise what she is looking for in later life, this reasonable comedy-drama is more about how children should care for their parents. The Bible is chockers with reminders of honouring parents (read the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20, for starters) – no matter what stage of life they are at. As an independent and adult child, Lori isn’t the best representative of honouring her mum. What could we all do differently to better treat, respect and love our parents?
RELEASE DATE: The Meddler is showing from May 19