Susan Sarandon delivers a magnetic performance as doting mother supreme Marnie Minervini. After the death of her husband, Marnie crosses coasts to drop into the life of her screenwriter daughter Lori (Rose Byrne). When Lori demands boundaries, Marnie puts her interfering tendencies to uses that range from invasive to genuinely altruistic. She forces a genius behind the bar at her local Apple Store to go back to school, arranges a dream wedding for a near-stranger, and launches into a romance with a motorcycle-riding, free-range-chicken farming ex-cop named Zipper (J.K. Simmons).
Sarandon brings incredible range to the role, investing in Marnie a winning naiveté that transforms quick enough into sincerity to allow writer-director Lorene Scafaria’s sophomore feature to neatly reverse the obvious pitfalls of a loosely autobiographical comedy-drama about an overbearing mother. Rather than side with Lori, The Meddler offers a heartfelt and wryly scripted defense of a woman struggling to cope with familial loss. The result is an enjoyable send up on mother-daughter relations caught in the blazing spotlight of Los Angeles.
Lorene Scafaria is a writer, director, actor, and singer-songwriter from New Jersey. She wrote the screenplay for Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist (20808), appeared in the sci-fi indie Coherence (2014), and has written and directed Seeking a Friend for the End of the World (2012).
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