If you want to see a 100 minutes Apple commercial, this movie is for you!
The Meddler (2015)
User ReviewsReview this title
If you want to see a 100 minutes Apple commercial, this movie is for you!
This was the first movie where upon her return, she didn't ask what she missed. We both knew before she left that she wouldn't miss anything. For the whole movie, not much happened. Just a lot of ploddingness, talk about feelings, and perhaps two chuckles.
The trailer looked good, but it had all the funny bits. A great cast was wasted on this ho hum mess. I kept waiting for the movie to get better, but it never did. If only my watch had a turboboost option...
On the bright side, if you have a nanobladder, this may be the perfect movie for you.
The story itself was probably not as bad as the commercialisation of the film.
I just wish that the distraction of bizarre elements, such as the mentioning of having purchased the places product in the initial call to her daughter, the befriending of the guy who helps her with her placed product and works in the placed product shop, the mentioning of the placed product web browser when searching the internet, her purchasing the placed product for the baby shower, her purchasing placed product for the chickens.
This is the future of cinema, it is a commercial dressed up as movie, I think it is much more than one commercial to far. This is a ruined film. Thanks placed product.
I know product placement is here to stay, but it can be done well, it can be subtle, it can be and unnoticed part of the story. But when you alter the story and insert extra elements in order to achieve extra product placements then you are at serious risk of making a bad advert instead of a good film.
Marnie (Susan Sarandon) is a widow desperately wanting to be relevant in other people's lives as a way to avoid dealing with her own. Her husband left her financially comfortable and she likes spending money on others, whether it's a bag of bagels or paying for the entire wedding of someone she barely knows. Her daughter Lori (Rose Byrne) has relationship issues of her own and welcomes her meddling mother like a blowfly on a summer day. If that sounds like a thin storyline, several comic sketches flesh it out: like Marnie's serial visits to that helpful guy in the Apple Store; being "earth mother" for a lesbian couple's wedding; deciding what to do with her husband's ashes; and the teen-awkward steps towards starting a relationship with an ex-cop called Zipper. The 'world's most embarrassing mother' theme is squeezed for all its worth, but the endless texting, unanswered messages, and unannounced drop-ins are more wearying for viewers than for this mother-daughter duo. While buried grief lies somewhere in the deeper layers of this film, it is largely ignored or at best explored with casual superficiality.
Sarandon's acting repertoire means she can handle anything from slapstick to pathos, but she can only work with what she is given. It is a weak script, full of clichéd melodrama, tired gags, and feigned sentimentality. She is on-screen for most of the movie, staying in character as a constantly irritating person who is painfully lacking in self-awareness, or just not particularly bright. If it was directed as a serious drama, the central premise of the story might have led to a satisfying movie. But as a corny comedy, it denigrates the seriousness of its deeper themes and is more squirm-in- your-seat embarrassing than laugh-out-loud kind of funny. While this conclusion may speak against the critical grain, it comes from someone who still has Sarandon on a pedestal.
The title is somewhat unkind to the well-meaning, if somewhat overpowering, Marnie, played wonderfully by Susan Sarandon who continues to shine brightly long after the days of "Thelma And Louise". In support roles, the beautiful Rose Byrne (first spotted by me in "Bridesmaids") as her daughter Lori and the gravel-voiced J K Simmons (fresh from his triumph in "Whiplash") as her knight in black leather are pitch-perfect.
This is a movie which is funny, moving and insightful - a rare treat.
Comedy-drama flick about a widow; that's desperate to try and help her depressed single daughter get her life back on track. She begins helping numerous other people, she meets, instead. The movie stars Susan Sarandon, Rose Byrne and J.K. Simmons. It was written and directed by Lorene Scafaria (who also helmed the amazing 'SEEKING A FRIEND FOR THE END OF THE WORLD'). I really enjoyed this film!
Marnie (Sarandon) is an elder widow; who recently moved to Los Angeles to be with her daughter Lori (Byrne). Lori was recently dumped by her boyfriend, Jacob (Jason Ritter), and she's still upset about it. Marnie tries to help Lori, get over her ex, but Lori doesn't want her meddling. Marnie begins helping other people, she meets in the city, instead.
The movie is funny, and extremely sweet. Sarandon is fantastic in the lead, and I always love J.K. Simmons. The mother/daughter relationship is very touching, and the romance is moving as well; but it's all the random people Marnie meets, and helps, that is the most beautiful thing to watch about this movie. I really enjoyed it.
Watch our movie review show 'MOVIE TALK' at: https://youtu.be/_3w7EWxV5vg
How do these silly movies get made? What a total waste. Susan Sarandon is OK but she is actually in one giant annoying role.
Stay away, plenty of other entertaining movies around...
In her first and now second back-to-back feature films, writer/director Lorene Scafaria has explored both end-of-days events, as well as the common theme of having her characters forced to find levity and comedy in, and finding the will to carry on amidst, the face of such devastating events – but only taking real-life experience from the latter.
In Scafaria's follow-up to her directorial debut, 2012's 'Seeking a Friend for the End of the World', the 'Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist' scribe offers an altogether joyful and uplifting tale of human life realism that, though still tinged with some mournful and heartbreaking tone, explores with such heart what happens after someone's world ends, the new reality that must then be accepted and the snags in life that come with it.
In Scafaria's own tale of personal devastation, the writer and director learned of her father's passing when in the middle of shooting 'Seeking a Friend'. Shocked, distraught, and altogether dazed, her mother proceeded to fly out to comfort and support her daughter through the production and finishing of the movie, and subsequently, becoming a new part of her daughter's crazed world.
'The Meddler' is exactly that story, a loving tribute of a film from Scafaria to and about her mother, and how the pair were faced with figuring out how the other fits into their lives. Marnie (Susan Sarandon), a spirited, life-affirming, if only slightly overbearing woman, so well- intentioned and good-hearted that she sees no boundaries or personal space between her and the people whose lives she stumbles into, and inadvertently helps in such genuine and caring ways. Her sunny and eager-to-assist disposition are great for everyone around her, including her daughter's new bride-to-be friend Jillian (Cecily Strong) and retired officer of the law "Zipper" (J.K. Simmons), who also manages to catch her eye – everyone, that is, except for her recently single and anxiety-ridden daughter Lori (Rose Byrne).
Scafaria shows Sarandon's wholesome meddling, but in such a loving way that Marnie's entire character is one that can't help but be looked at as endearing, sentimental, and caring in that classic, overly-attentive "mom" kind of way (a running joke shows Marnie leaving voicemail upon voicemail to a Lori, only asking her daughter to text her to make sure she's OK). Sarandon here is a true joy – this movie is a vehicle around the star, and she doesn't disappoint when on screen (in the beauty department as well), even when the story lacks in urgency or real development.
As a movie, 'The Meddler' is pretty much just a series of situationally-comedic events – she buys an iPad for a baby shower present, accidentally gets stoned when trying to get rid of a younger friend's bag of pot, and walks onto a movie set and becomes an "extra." The winning factor is that Sarandon herself shows so much life, still so comedically and dramatically deft and sharp, which should tickle the middle-aged-mom crowd out there.
'The Meddler', if not the most challenging or complex look at familial loss beyond being a good time, is a highly personal film. Scafaria's near-autobiographical film, that seeks to win over audiences with its funny look at a tragic life, feels tonally reminiscent of writer/director Maya Forbes' 2014 dramedy 'Infinitely Polar Bear', in which Mark Ruffalo stars as Forbes' manic- depressive father, telling a story of morose nature but with light-hearted and optimistic fever. And like that film, 'The Meddler' wins audiences over by its message of how important it is to continue to smile – to live – in the face of grief. Because the end of one world also means the beginning of a new one.
What these two films share in common, besides being made watchable thanks to the talents of their respective main star, is that they were character portrayals of the aging baby boomer as a childlike character.
As an aging baby boomer female myself, I found myself asking, with both films, but I'll stick to The Meddler here, did Marnie take too many drugs in her youth? Because there's something so innocent, spaced out, cutesy, and ultimately kind of brain dead, about her.
Reviewers have referred to her as happy, cheerful, smiling, caring, etc. which are all accurate, but when I ask myself, is she someone I'd like to spend time with, or even have as my mother, my answer is a resounding No. Maybe because in my own family I was the "adult child" I think I'd have to assume that role with Marnie, too. Because frankly she fits into la la land so perfectly. And I always feel that characters/people like that are able to get away with something that I can't.
Which is all to say watching The Meddler was a mixed experience.
The stereotype of the bossy smother-mother -- well-intentioned, but SO overbearing -- is a very, very old trope and yet the director here, Lorene Scafaria, seems to think she's struck comedic gold. A bonus feature on the DVD is an interview with Scafaria and her own real life mother, on whom the film characters are based...and it comes across as creepy & troubling, not cute. About the only thing original is that the "smother-mother" here, Marnie, is a baby boomer and not a member of the Greatest Generation...if you fall into that demographic, it is a bit jarring to realize you are now among the OLDSTERS being mocked, and not the "young hip generation" anymore.
But the problem with THAT, is when an overbearing mother of that former era was caricatured (unfairly I think), we KNEW someone of that age was a lifetime homemaker & mother, with no real education or career outside of that. So when their kids were grown and their spouse passed away, they had literally NOTHING else in their lives. That is very hard to accept when it comes to a boomer mom, who almost certainly had a career, went to college, etc. If we take Rose Bryne (age 38) and Susan Sarandon (who looks amazing at 70) literally...she did not have her daughter until she was 32.
Yet there is no sense whatsoever that Marnie has ever had a profession or career, even part-time...that she had any life beyond marriage & kids...that she has same-age friends (and not just her daughter's friends)...or a life in Manhattan that she has left behind...or that she has always hovered over Lori (Bryne) who at least in her late 30s, for Lori's entire life.
That's because Marnie is reduced to a stereotype; a meddling, clinging old crone with no life of her own. If Scarfaria thinks this about her own mother (besides mining her for lame jokes), it is pretty darn sad.
Of course the vehicle that finally gives Marnie "a new life" and gets her claws out of Lori (a little) has to be....a new romance, supplied by J.K. Simmons (who's as charming as always). Indeed, nice single men in their 70s are clamoring for gorgeous Marnie here, which frankly is not something I've seen much for women I know over 60. And in LOS ANGELES! In other words: it is apparently not possible for a woman to heal from widowhood or loneliness or clinginess...unless she finds a new lover/husband.
The other kinda distasteful element of the film is that Scarfaria (either reflecting real life OR a kind of cultural elitism) has made Marnie staggeringly wealthy. Of course, some people ARE really wealthy, but THAT also means the story is far less universal. Most older widows struggle financially -- your Social Security check is cut by a third when your spouse dies -- but not Marnie! SHE has apparently inherited MILLIONS from her husband, about which she acts as if he were a great-uncle who left her an unexpected inheritance. (Wasn't their wealth, their mutual assets, HALF HERS all this time? why was she SURPRISED to get it?)
Out of a combination of guilt, wealth, control, naivete, and self-destructiveness, Marnie seems driven to spend her millions inappropriately -- buying expensive Apple electronics for people she barely knows, and throwing a very costly, large wedding for two ALREADY MARRIED lesbian friends of her daughter ....a couple whom she has just met! -- at first offering them $13,000 as tax-free gift....but then, paying entirely for a wedding which is clearly more than 2-3 times that much, being a catered affair on a rented YACHT and including a very costly designer dress for the bride!
Though the whole concept is tedious, I think that last part lost the whole believability aspect for me. Even sitcoms have to be grounded in something relatable. If my mother spent a sizable chunk of her assets (and my future inheritance!) on a stranger's gay wedding (and not MY OWN wedding!)...I'd be properly concerned she was mentally ill or even showing signs of impending dementia. That isn't cute. It's troubling. It is troubling if the lesbian couple accepts this much money from a wealthy stranger, even as a gift. NOBODY here is behaving like anything resembling a real, normal human being in 2015.
Not funny. Sad.
Marnie Minervini (Sarandon) is lonely and bored. She and her husband moved from New York to L.A. when their screenwriter daughter, Lori (Rose Byrne), did just a few years before. Since then, Marnie's husband died, leaving her enough money that she doesn't have to work. Marnie constantly calls, texts and drops by to see Lori. When Lori suggests that her mother get a hobby, Marnie cheerily responds, "You could be my hobby!" Marnie is loving, charming and means well, but she definitely is a meddler.
Besides having trouble filling the hours, Marnie is still struggling to get over her husband's death. Likewise, Lori misses her father, and has been devastated by her break-up with an actor named Jacob (Jason Ritter). Well, at least she has her mother – and her career. Lori has written a TV pilot which is about to be filmed back in New York. Although Marnie offers to come with her to be her assistant, Lori goes alone, looking forward to a change of scenery – and putting some distance between her and mom.
With Lori (at least temporarily) out of town and mostly out of contact (due to work), Marnie is forced to find something else to do. She offers to pay for the wedding of Lori's best friend, Jillian (Cecily Strong), and becomes very involved in the planning. Marnie starts volunteering at a local hospital, where she befriends an old woman (Jo Jordan) who happens to be mute. Marnie also takes interest in a young man (Jerrod Carmichael) who helps her with the new devices she buys at the local Apple store and she starts driving him to night school, trying to help him reach his potential. Marnie then grows close to a retired police officer called Zipper (J.K. Simmons), who also has a complicated relationship with his daughter.
Then, even as Marnie recoils at the prospect of romance (as she's also being pursued by a local L.A. man played by Michael McKean), she still meddles in her daughter's romantic life, both in L.A. and in New York. A trip to the Big Apple to visit Lori on the set of her new TV show (and spend a few days with her) goes well, but a pleasant dinner with her deceased husband's Italian family simply brings back up her unresolved grief. Marnie has been having sessions of her own with her daughter's therapist (Amy Landecker) back in L.A., but Marnie learns that she eventually has to figure out some things for herself.
"The Meddler" is a very pleasant diversion and a heart-felt tribute to mothers. It manages to validate the feelings of both meddling mothers and the children in whose lives they meddle, helping us to understand and appreciate both sides of that equation, while subtly suggesting solutions to such tension. This film is more fun than "Mother's Day", its main competition for 2016 Mom's Day dollars, and the similarly-themed "I'll See You in My Dreams" (from 2015, with Blythe Danner in the role of the aging widow). "The Meddler" is similarly upbeat and as surprisingly entertaining as 2016's "Hello, My Name is Doris", in which Sally Field gives a wonderful performance of her own as an older woman coming to terms with her advancing maturity.
This film's script and direction (both from Lorene Scafaria, who also wrote and directed 2012's "Seeking a Friend for the End of the World") sometimes exaggerate the story's drama, but the film delivers a decent amount of laughs, along with moments that will make most Movie Fans smile, whether you're a mother, a daughter, or of the male persuasion. The cast is what really makes the movie worth watching – especially Sarandon, whose optimism and good will is infectious. This may not be the mother of ALL movies about mom, but I'm going to meddle just a bit and suggest if you ever had a mother, you consider seeing "The Meddler". "B+"
The movie is an outstanding written and directed work. Often the writer director starts the movie too late or won't cut a word or scene of their brilliant writing. Here it is a perfect title, perfect start and near perfect script. Many male characters are a bit thinly written and seem like props not people.
So what if the action cuts from Bennett's in the Farmers Market to the fountains in the Grove like they are a step away. It seemed the writer needed a car stolen even though it was parked in the most highly visible space at Fisherman's Village in a controlled exit parking lot. The coincidence of walking onto the set to meet JK Simmons was fun but also seemed contrived. Was the credited Sam Ruben left on the cutting room floor when the channel Five morning news team was moved to eight?
Susan Serandon, dressed mostly in animal print tops, carries this movie gracefully on her back. She is in every scene and very convincing. There is an outstanding use of music that adds to the fun and carries lots some scenes to a higher level.
The movie looks good on the wide screen theater screen. It is a small movie that isn't receiving big studio marketing promotion. It is the type of movie that will benefit from positive word of mouth. Find it in limited release or enjoy it on a home platform.
Films are so often obvious. They can be absurd even, but this film was so true to life. Expect the unexpected and actually things don't add up and you can't just fit things into a box with a neat little bow. Life is confusing, chaotic and beautiful. It's real. That's it and this film shows it all fully without covering up the details. And yet things aren't always said, they are implied or hinted at. I love it.
I love a film that leaves you wondering, yet already knowing. Thanks for this.
I don't usually write a film review, well hardly ever, but today I felt I needed to write one about The Meddler - enjoy.
She plays a "recent" widow who has flown across the continent to distance herself from her previous life and seek the company of those she loves the most. Unfortunately for her, she can't complete the cycles, connect with her daughter, so she compensates by creating a new circle of friends, and it becomes apparent that she has much to give, money, love, time, and more. Yet, nothing will work out until she's able to close the previous chapter of her life.
Sarandon is excellent at using facial expressions to let us see what's coming and any reaction she has, without the need of much dialog. She asks simple questions, but they're loaded, letting us learn much about her and her new choice of friends. It's wonderful to see surprising reactions to new turn of events. When she visits her in-laws, we learn what she loves and fears the most. We understand the nature of her relationships, the love she was a part of, the immense holes she needs to fill.
Much like, Fields, in a recent and wonderful and quirky performance, she must learn to adapt, live with her new companions and give herself a chance so she can discover how wonderful she's and how much she really needs and deserves.
Written and directed by Lorene Scafaria, whose scant previous credits include writing/directing Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World and writing Nick And Nora's Infinite Playlist, this movie (which arrived at my local cinema without so much as a trailer preceding it) features Susan Sarandon as Marnie, Rose Byrne as daughter Lori, JK Simmons as Zipper (the chicken-owning cop, the script is undecided as to whether he is retired or not), and several other names in supporting roles.
It is possible to get irritated with Marnie's mild inability to mind her own business, just as Lori's tendency towards moody angst could get on your nerves, but it is easy to see where these traits come from, and the death of husband/Dad Jack before the film starts is clearly of major importance to both women - indeed, it seeds the final sequence of the film. Likewise, Marnie's tendency to back off - literally - from the possibility of a close relationship with a man comes from the same place. The impulsive decision to bankroll the lesbian wedding of a friend of her daughter, a woman she hardly knows, is puzzling and required more explanation: inherited wealth is the obvious answer, as evidenced by the late husband's expensive car, but it would have helped to have had some explanation.
The biggest flaw here is that there seems to be a lack of purpose to the film. It meanders. The drama is gentle, but doesn't always go anywhere much. Things happen and then the expected consequences never materialise. It's all very soap opera-ish, but without any real pay-off to a number of the plot strands which are established.
Having said that, there are happy endings - kind of - to the mother/daughter side of things, and one assumes that Marnie and Lori continue their lives in a slightly more contented vein than previously.
Writer-director Lorene Scafaria tells her story skilfully, wittily and warmly. Ms Sarandon plays Marnie, a New Yorker who, following the death of her husband, relocates to L.A. to be near her screenwriter daughter Lori, played by Ms Byrne. The film is really about the two women working through their grief, but the telling of their tale is done with deftly, lightly: it isn't a heavy film. The overall tone is one of optimism, but without anything mawkish or Pollyanna-ish.
When Lori heads back to NYC to work on a TV project, Marnie knows she has to look for ways to fill her time. She volunteers as a baby-sitter to a friend of Lori's, which leads her to becoming a wedding-planner; she volunteers at a hospital, which culminates in a most unexpectedly moving scene; she stumbles into a location shoot for a movie, becomes a walk-on, and thereby finds a friend in a retired policeman played by Mr Simmons; and she befriends a young guy who helps her come to grips with her iPad (product placement, I suspect) she ends up helping him in return.
If you think there are too many story lines, you're right. This is the film's only weakness, to my mind. In particular , the iPad guy story line is redundant: it has no pay-off and, in spite of a charming performance by Jerrod Carmichael, could easily be cut from the movie, making it a lean 90 minutes instead of the slightly flabby 100 that it is.
All in all, it's a well-crafted, gently amusing piece of work.
Unless your name is Meryl Streep, who seems to have a new movie annually, consistent work as a lead actress after a certain age is hard to find. Yet, between Hello, My Name is Dorris, The Face of Love, Grandma, and I'm sure many I have yet to discover, women heading into their golden age have been finding the most interesting of roles as of late. This film starring Susan Sarandon is a nice addition to the list. It doesn't top the aforementioned, but it is still a decent watch.
It has been a little bit more than a year since Marnie's (Susan Sarandon) husband Joe died, and since then she has pretty much honed all her focus on her daughter Lori's (Rose Byrne) life. Something Lori doesn't appreciate for Marnie is absolutely smothering. Making a trip across the country a welcome vacation. But while Lori maybe away, that won't stop Marnie from being the mother figure so many desperately may want or need. Though, alongside being a mother, she is still a woman. One who may still hold a loyalty to her husband, but has quite a few potential suitors trying to get a piece of her time.
As overbearing as Marnie is, Sarandon figures a way to never make her seem like an outright nuisance. If anything, you see Lori as ungrateful. Especially as we meet characters like Jillian (Cecily Strong) who lost her mom and Freddy (Jerrod Carmichael) who may have a mom but they don't have the time to actively be in their child's life how they want. But as a person in general, Marnie is just lovable.
With the movie just 17 minutes shy of being 2 hours, I must admit when it was over I was left feeling kind of empty. Not because I cried or because there was such a relief after all Marnie went through. For, fact of the matter is, Marnie doesn't really go through anything. She has a daughter who feels smothered by her so she avoids her, and Marnie pushes through that. That perhaps is the big obstacle, getting her daughter to appreciate her. That is, as opposed to Marnie really hunkering down and facing the fact her husband is dead.
Now, who am I to say how someone should grieve? I've never been married nor lost anyone significant to me. But with the way Marnie avoided Joe's family, avoided talking about how to handle his ashes, and pretty much anything which acknowledged his death, you'd think the movie would really address his death. After all, like Lori says, her mom lost her other half and is obviously unsure how to compensate besides investing time and effort in Lori or strangers. Which was nice to watch, and made Marnie the likable character she is, but ultimately you just feel like her journey to, I guess, be open to dating again was just too meek considering all the time we spend with her.
On The Fence
There were times I wanted to question who Marnie was besides this overly nice lady? What did she do before her husband died? Was she just a housewife or did she work outside the home? Also, what made her so nice to strangers? These questions weren't necessarily nagging issues, but there did come a point with how much she would talk about Joe and Lori that you got to wondering why Marnie didn't talk more about herself? Past what she did that specific day.