Susan Sarandon

REVIEW: The Meddler (2015)

Marnie (Susan Sarandon) doesn’t know what to do with herself after her husband dies so she moves closer to her daughter Lori (Rose Byrne) and soon befriends Lori’s friends and tries to fully intergrate herself into Lori’s life.

The Meddler is about grief. It’s been over a year since her husband died but Marnie misses him terribly and suddenly has way more money than she knows what to do with thanks to his life insurance payout. She becomes overly generous because of that, paying for her daughter’s friend Jillian’s (Cecily Strong) wedding and buying expensive gifts for just about anyone she meets. She even befriends Apple store worker Freddy (Jerrod Carmichael), convincing him to take night classes and then even driving him to and from them.

The problem with Marnie is I did not like her. I understand why she is being so interfering and clingy as it’s because she’s still grieving and is focussing on everyone around her instead of thinking about her dead husband but that still didn’t stop me from wanting to throttle her. While Lori obviously still loves her mother, even though she annoys her a lot of the time, as a viewer I had no fond feelings for her at all.

The Meddler is heartfelt and sometimes funny too. The performances are all great and Sarandon is a standout but that wasn’t enough to get me to look past how much I disliked Marnie. Unfortunately my dislike of Marnie had a knock on affect and made me dislike the film itself. 2/5.

REVIEW: The Greatest (2009)

Struggling to cope with their son Bennett’s (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) death, Allen (Pierce Brosnan) and Grace’s (Susan Sarandon) world is shaken again when Rose (Carey Mulligan) shows up on their doorstep three months pregnant with their son’s child.

The Greatest is all about grief and how people deal with it in different ways. Allen refuses to speak about Bennett while Grace is single-minded in her mission to find out everything there is to know about her son’s death, rewatching the CCTV footage and talking to nurses and doctors about the night Bennett died. Both parents are so caught up in their grief, or in Allen’s case trying to ignore it, that they almost forget sbout their younger son Ryan (Johnny Simmons) who’s also struggling. Rose is also grieving for a love that has been brutally cut short but she has their child to think of. Sometimes Rose appears more level-headed than Grace and Allen put together.

The Greatest might be a bit predictable but the story is told with such sincerity that you can’t hold the usual genre tropes against it. This story of grief and hope is sometimes like a punch to your emotions and that’s down to the very talented cast. You feel all their pain and Carey Mulligan shows in one of her early film roles what a skilled young actress she is. The Greatest is well worth a watch. 4/5.

REVIEW: Middle of Nowhere (2008)

middle-of-nowhere-2008-posterWhen Grace (Eva Amurri Martino) realises her irresponsible mother (Susan Sarandon) hasn’t paid of the credit cards that she took out in her name, thus running her chances of getting funding for college, she teams up with her summer job co-worker Dorian (Anton Yelchin) in his scheme to make money from selling marijuana.

Middle of Nowhere has some great performances and some believable and relatable teenage characters. While Dorian and Grace are good friends it doesn’t mean they don’t fight and fall-out with each other, but again, just because they fight doesn’t mean they won’t still look out for and still care about each other.

Middle of Nowhere doesn’t go in with all the usual clichés for coming-of-age films and it is very true to life because when you find out that someone has hurt you it doesn’t always turn into a huge shouting match. Sometimes, you have to hide the fact you’re hurt and then just get over it. Also sometimes you might kiss someone and then you go back to being exactly as you were, you neither never talk to them again nor suddenly realise they are the love of your life.

Grace’s younger sister Taylor (Willa Holland) is also a great character and manages to be her own person and avoids being the “annoying younger sister”. Grace cares about her, and so does Dorian. There’s a scene where Taylor ends up at a party with Dorian because he has drugs to sell and when she gets into trouble he reacts and helps her even though it could potentially put himself at risk. Yelchin, Holland and Martino all have amazing chemistry which is important because the film pretty much rests on their performances and relationships.

Middle of Nowhere is a hidden gem; it’s teenage characters are relatable as they struggle with parents’ expectations and figuring out what they want to do with their lives. With great performances and a lovely soundtrack, Middle of Nowhere is worth checking out. 4/5.