This image released by Sony Pictures Classics shows J.K. Simmons, left, and Susan Sarandon in a scene from The Meddler. (Jaimie Trueblood/Sony Pictures Classics via AP)

Michael Phillips Chicago Tribune

The smooth, cozy charm of writer-director Lorene Scafarias The Meddler offers considerable seriocomic satisfaction in its story of a mother and a daughter, the meddler and the meddled with, respectively. I dont get the high-end praise for this medium entity. But as a performance vehicle its nice and spacious.

Susan Sarandon is Marnie Minervini, recently widowed New Jersey transplant, whose late husband left her with plenty of money to go with her generous and compulsive instincts. She has moved to Los Angeles to be near her TV writer daughter, Lori, a romantically thwarted workaholic played by Rose Byrne. Shrewdly, The Meddler refuses to gin up major-league conflict and resolution in its central relationship. The tensions come and go; theyre plausible and human-scaled.

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