Another comedy is making its theatrical rounds, but Lorene Scafaria's The Meddler is of the indie variety. As an industry screenwriter and the director of Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, Scafaria's sophomoric effort began with a modest premiere on the festival circuit. And in support of the general critical consensus, The Meddler does a fine job of telling a familiar story.
Susan Sarandon stars as Marnie, a widow who's still grieving over the loss of her late husband. And as a method of coping, the elder woman constantly pries into the personal life of her daughter, Lori (Rose Byrne), and whoever else will listen to her. But as Lori begins to distance herself from her overbearing mother, Marnie becomes entangled in the lives of a new set of people, including a retired police officer (J.K. Simmons), who help her get past her husband's death.
Despite The Meddler's common central storyline, the film's natural humor and honest characters make for an enjoying ride. Susan Sarandon is an absolute marvel in the leading role and completely steals the show. The subtle intricacies of her performance are a refreshing reminder of Sarandon's immense talent. You'll encounter moments where Marnie will irk you to death, and others where she's melt you with her uplifting charm. It's this wide spectrum that helps make the film such a worthwhile journey. And along with Sarandon, co-stars Rose Byrne and recent Academy Award winner, J.K. Simmons (Whiplash), also shine in their supporting roles. The Meddler is clearly an indie, sprinkled with its artistic flair and simple production. Yet, you'll hardly notice as Sarandon draws you into her complex world, one that you'll thankful you experienced.