Written & Directed By: Lorene Scafaria
Cinematography By: Brett Pawlek
Editor: Kayla M. Emter
Cast: Susan Sarandon, Rose Byrne, J.K. Simmons, Jerrod Carmichael, Cecily Strong, Lucy Punch, Michael McKean, Billy Magnussen, Jason Ritter, Casey Wilson, Megan Echikunwoke, Amy Landecker, Harry Hamlin, Robert Picardo, Shiri Appleby, Laura San Giacomo, Roger Arron Brown, Randall Park, Bill Fagerbakke
An aging widow from New York City follows her daughter to Los Angeles in hopes of starting a new life after her husband passes away.
The film seems personal. It also seems more designed not only for a certain audience but also seems to want universal appeal in the end. Susan Sarandon gives an energetic passionate performance. That makes her likeable and memorable.
It’s a sweet film that seems more like a studio comedy for how inoffensive it is but appears to be more of an independent construct. It has quirkiness but Isn’t overbearing.
For instance, It set’s up a character to have a twin character for no other reason except just for either humor or push to a certain scene that set’s up the rest of the movie. Which would be fine if it just wasn’t so obvious and makes really no sense except for a lame joke. It becomes even more obvious when after that scene the character nor the situation is brought up again.
For the most part. Almost like they are dropped. As they served their duty.
This is obviously a movie meant to be a crowd pleaser and the film is certainly pleasant. The problem is that the film barely has any conflict. it is more a character learning to move on and enjoy life again for herself. Rather than a movie that seems like it will be either about the mother and daughter learning how they need each other even if the daughter resents her or that the daughter misses her mom as her mom helps everyone except her.
It is like the recent Release MY NAME IS DORIS starring Sally Field, except what helped make that film memorable was that there was conflict that deepened situations and made you care more about the outcome. Here the character is almost the same at the end, as she is from the beginning.
As throughout the film Rose Byrne’s character seems pretty mean spirited and unlikeable. Then again she is also not in most of the film though top billed and front and center in the advertisements.
The film feels like it comes to a halt or feels a lot slower when it comes to it’s more dramatic scenes that more center around Sarandon’s romance with an age appropriate suitor.
Though the main themes of the film seem to be Susan Sarandon’s character being overprotective of her daughter and depending on her after her husbands death to fill her days and when her daughter neglects and abandons her she fills the need by helping various people and getting involved in their lives which leads her on different adventures until she realizes she has to confront her own feelings and move on from them. So that she can live her life for herself more.
I will admit to having seen part of the ending before when I was channel surfing and thought the end was a lot darker then what it was when I finally rented and watched the film fully from beginning to end. I like how the film is, if it ended the way I thought it would be a bit dark and even cruel though would be satisfying to a degree and would be strange. As the major drama would only come into the end.
Luckily for most it is a nice, happy ending. Though it had a chance to be something a bit different.
The film is harmless enough though if not looking for something that is overwhelmingly sweet. I would advise you to skip the movie. Though it is something you can watch with your parents or family and be entertained. With barely anything objectionable. Though surprisingly like the film very progressive in it’s beliefs.