Bringing you honest reviews of recent releases
Susan Sarandon – Marnie Minervini
Rose Byrne – Lori Minervini
J.K. Simmons – Zipper
Lucy Punch – Emily
Jason Ritter – Jacob
Casey Wilson – Trish
Billy Magnussen – Ben
The Meddler is sad, but quite funny – sunny. It is a raw and honest portrayal of the relationship between a mother and daughter which not only entertains, but rings true with some of its poignant scenes and raw dialogue.
As always, Byrne sparkles as recently separated Lori. The actress is absolutely faultless in her performance as she switches in some scenes from happiness to sadness within a split second. Byrne is a refreshing choice of actress for the role, it’s slightly different to what she’s done before too. And yet again her comic talent comes into play with Lori dropping some brilliantly funny one-liner’s in front of her mother (Sarandon). There isn’t much I can elaborate on – Byrne is superb and delivers everything you’d expect from a mid-thirties, recently seperated American.
Bringing something a little different to what I’ve seen from her previously, Sarandon is on a par with Byrne in an equally effective role as bereaved wife Marnie. Sad and adrift, the woman is pure pity. The actress is wonderful at portraying this; the character spends her time mournfully wandering around trying to please her daughter, as well as her daughter’s friends. She’s so lonely, has so much time on her hands that it pulled at my heartstrings watching her do so.
This is Sarandon at her best – or the best I’ve seen of her anyway; I genuinely felt engaged by her saddening performance – which she blends with comedy also. A few scenes had the audience laughing out loud; one in particular is when Marnie is unwittingly caught with a car full of Marijuana and consumes almost all of it in order to hide it from police.
This endearing character is a pleasure to watch, especially as most of her emotions ring true; another area where The Meddler wins – portraying genuine, observant scenarios.
Or perhaps I found it so witty because her raw emotion was something I could relate to.
Byrne gives us an effective and passionate performance. Sarandon gives us sadness and comedy combined. Together they are an absolute force of talent.
The Meddler is one of those unique little gems where it’s neither excellent nor dire. It sits nicely between and boasts a dynamic cast of both males and females (great to see Lucy Punch in on the action and bringing her oddly hilarious humour with her – we need more of her), snappy scenes, relatable sentiment, and sharp comedy. It is by no means boring as the story unfolds over the period of a few weeks, and works nicely on the scale of romance and comedy. It’s probably what most people would consider a ‘feel-good’ film.
The ‘dress fitting’ scene is hilarious; made so by Punch as her character bursts into tears at the sight of the bride because of how ‘thin’ she looks.
The Meddler‘s scene dynamics are good, mixing the atmosphere up with bouncy moments (I.E. giggling adult bridesmaids airing such arrogance in the middle of social settings that it’s hilarious), and smooth moments (a forlorn mother sat by the sea watching a beautiful sunset with her new male friend). It moves at a bearable pace too which is good.
Ultimately, you’re watching a stroppy, thirty-something young woman arguing with her meddling older mother most of the time. There’s a whole lot of, “leave me alone mom!” – “but I’m just trying to help” style situation drama. Family strife. It can be slightly dull in parts, which slows The Meddler down. There are tears of frustration as Lori throws a strop in reaction to her mother during certain scenes too, making it less movie, more soap opera.
Another downer is Marnie’s ‘new man’ situation; it seems to drag a bit and then this romantic plot trails off into nowhere, making Zipper almost irrelevant to the movie overall. Thank god for Sarandon, humouring it up.
Not a bad little watch.
Give it a go if you’ve got a spare hour or so and need cheering up.