The Meddler (2015)


Bil’s rating (out of 5):   BBBB.  

USA, 2015.  , .  Screenplay by .  Cinematography by .  Produced by .  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by

Recently widowed  (her finest performance in years) finds herself with plenty of time and money to spend on anyone she takes a fancy to, and takes advantage of every opportunity to do so.  Having left her New York home to be close to her screenwriter daughter () in Los Angeles, Sarandon drives her crazy with her constant presence, calling Byrne multiple times a day and even attending her friends’ parties in her place.   Byrne is undergoing a deep depression thanks to her father’s death and her recent breakup from a famous actor, while Sarandon steps up her meddling by paying for the wedding of a young woman she hardly knows and helping out a computer store employee she takes a fancy to.  What soon becomes obvious in this sharply observed and deeply moving film is that her erratic behaviour is her way of repressing a grief that will eventually find its way to her anyway, and watching this great actor navigate her emotional realization to its outcome is a pleasure from beginning to end.   Despite a disingenuous Brooklyn accent that never quite lands, Sarandon masterfully uses those Bette Davis eyes to command the camera’s attention without any affectation, the best example an outstanding scene where she reacts to playing a fictional version of her husband on a television show.  Director Lorene Scafaria has made the best of the recent (and, of course, most welcome) spate of Mature Woman Rediscovers Meaning movies, so much more pleasing than Michael Showalter’s shameful Hello My Name Is Doris and a great deal more entertaining than Brett Haley’s dull I’ll See You In My Dreams.

Toronto International Film Festival: 2015

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