Marnie Minervini (Susan Sarandon) is a sixty-something mother who has recently re-located to L.A. in order to be closer to her daughter, Lori (Rose Byrne), something that Lori is incredibly unhappy about. I can’t blame her. Marnie hovers over Lori, suffocating her to the point of lunacy.
If Lori’s phone rings, it’s almost definitely mom. Marnie often shows up at Lori’s door unexpectedly. Lori snaps at her every time, but somehow mom never figures out that there’s a problem. This has all occurred because Marnie’s husband (Lori’s father) died about a year earlier.
In addition to Lori being upset with her mom, she has recently lost her relationship with her boyfriend. She is crushed, like anyone else who goes through a breakup, but she’s functional, not a total emotional cripple. Marnie is an insanely outgoing and lovely woman who definitely is a major meddler, but everyone besides her daughter loves her. They have the option to not always be with her so they only experience her generosity of time and money. Her husband left her a good deal of money and she loves giving it away.
Marnie is attractive, so naturally she draws male attention, but she’s not interested in the least. She hasn’t been with anyone since her husband and is totally uncomfortable with the notion of being with another man.
One day she is walking down the street and she wanders through a scene being shot for a film. The director mistakes her for a real extra and includes her in the shot. Zipper (J. K. Simmons), a cop sitting nearby on his Harley strikes up a conversation with her after the scene. He’s interested. She might be.
“The Meddler”, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival, is about a mother and her daughter dealing with the grief of losing someone special. Writer/director Lorene Scafaria handles everything quite well. In spite of her terrible accent, Sarandon gives her usual strong performance. Simmons is loveable in his role and Byrne holds up her end of it. It all doesn’t feel realistic at the outset because Marnie is a caricature in the beginning, but the ship gets righted quickly and it all fleshes out. I don’t think I’m meddling with your life by telling you that it’s probably worth your time.