The Meddler

Critics Consensus

The Meddler transcends its cutesy title and familiar premise with a heartfelt look at family dynamics that's honored by a marvelous performance from Susan Sarandon.



Reviews Counted: 141

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User Ratings: 9,205


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Reviews Count: 0
Fresh: 0
Rotten: 0


Average Rating: 3.3/5

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Movie Info

With a new iPhone, an apartment near the Grove, and a comfortable bank account left to her by her beloved late husband, Marnie Minervini has happily relocated from New Jersey to Los Angeles to be near her daughter Lori, a successful (but still single) screenwriter, and smother her with motherly love. But when the dozens of texts, unexpected visits, and conversations dominated by unsolicited advice force Lori to draw strict personal boundaries, Marnie finds ways to channel her eternal optimism and forceful generosity to change the lives of others - as well as her own - and find a new purpose in life.

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Critic Reviews for The Meddler

All Critics (141) | Top Critics (37)

  • It is all very likeable, but maybe Scafaria was inhibited by the fact she found her inspiration in her own family, because blandness takes the edge off it.

    May 18, 2016 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • Scafaria's sympathetic intentions fall to simplistic setups and easy resolutions. She offers the characters no significant traits beside their functions in the action; the movie coasts on the charm of the actors, whom the director coaxes to mug ...

    May 16, 2016 | Full Review…
  • Much like its main character, "The Meddler" exudes an irresistible charm.

    May 12, 2016 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • You root for Marnie, even when it's clear why Lori struggles with her, and you hear her persistent voice in your head for a while afterward - reminding you, perhaps, to give your own mother a call.

    May 12, 2016 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…
  • The beauty of The Meddler is in its insistence that grief passes - even if you can't buy your way to happiness.

    May 12, 2016 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • Sarandon sparkles in this lightweight comedy-drama.

    May 11, 2016 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

    Rafer Guzman

    Top Critic

Audience Reviews for The Meddler


While Lorene Scafaria has only made one other film, she is one of my foremost favorite female and independent film directors. She writes relatable, funny, realistic characters who act on instinct and fellowship. Looking at the poster, I thought this was going to be a run-of-the-mill comedy about mothers and daughters not relating, a tired trope that often makes for ugly stereotypes and over-the-top acting (see The Guilt Trip). Through a beautiful cosmic set of circumstances the right people were cast, the story was told, and here we are with a radiant and relatable film. While the poster suggests this story is all about mother-daughter relations, it actually centers on the mother, Marnie Minervini (Susan Sarandon). Marnie moves to Los Angeles from New York to be closer to her middle-aged daughter, Lori (Bryne) who finds her widowed mother to be meddling. When Lori has to go to the East Coast for work, Marnie has to find her own way, eventually becoming a powerful force in strangers' lives. Throughout the film Marnie is gracious and giving, though guilty about her large inheritance from her dead husband. Along the way she also learns to love again and that her energies can help any number of people. With a great supporting cast (including J.K. Simmons, Cecily Strong, and Jerrod Carmichael) this story is both perplexingly original and yet familiar, like the feel of a worn terrycloth robe. Scafaria related in interviews that a lot of Marnie's character came from her own mother, a widow from New Jersey who has since followed her talented daughter on her press tours for this film. It makes sense that there is an authenticity to the character, because Marnie feels like all our mothers: a little judgmental, pretty outspoken, and loves and supports you in every single possible way. The only thing that detracts from the plot is the constant moving between both coasts. It somewhat confuses the story, lends to disambiguation about Lori's relationship with her ex, Jacob (Ritter), and slows the action. I know we switch so Marnie is confronted with what she has do to with her husband's ashes, and it lends to a better understanding of her life before she moved to LA, but the best parts of the story take place in LA. Otherwise, I thought this entire film was a wonderful surprise, and that Scafaria should continue making personal, entertaining films such as this.

Spencer S.
Spencer S.

Super Reviewer


Susan Sarandon and Rose Byrne star in the quirky, off-beat comedy The Meddler. After the death of her husband Marnie Minervini moves to Los Angeles to be near her daughter and begins inserting herself into her life, and in the process Marnie ends up making a new live for herself. Sarandon gives a strong performance, but Byrne is underwhelming and gets pushed into the background. The writing is also an issue, as it doesn't have a lot of focus and leaves a number of loose tangents. Yet, what comedy there is works and there's an earnestness to the mother/daughter relationship. Mildly entertaining, The Meddler is kind of fun, though it's also a bit of mess.

Dann Michalski
Dann Michalski

Super Reviewer

Slight. I had high hopes for this one too. It's not bad so much as uneventful. Though I was grateful it didn't go where I thought it might. Not bad as a slice of life film, but being quite slow, not one to watch over either.

Nicki Marie
Nicki Marie

Super Reviewer

The Meddler subverts expectations. As the narrative begins to play out, I kept anticipating that Marnie would become the butt of the joke, but she never does. Usually relegated as a background character, Susan Sarandon's role is reminiscent of a sitcom trope I call "overbearing mom to celebrity comedian". Yet she is not banished to the background of the story, she IS the story. The plot is lovingly constructed around her saga. She is sweetly sympathetic. She behaves like a caring mom, if perhaps a bit suffocating. If nothing else, the drama is a suitable showcase for the veteran performer. It's nice to see that in 2016, great actresses of a certain age can still excel in indie films amidst all the FX and explosions of blockbuster Hollywood. This has been a recent trend. Sally Field and Helen Mirren have also scored this year with indie hits. Susan Sarandon's achievement is more than enough reason to enjoy The Meddler.

Mark Hobin
Mark Hobin

Super Reviewer

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