Over the last couple weeks I’ve been able to see advanced screenings of Elevation Pictures’ Mother’s Day, and Mongrel Media’s The Meddler.

Released seven days apart, both films take a look at motherhood and the push-pull relationships between families, but both have completely different story lines and appeal.

Garry Marshall’s newest addition to his anthology ‘calendar collection’ (New Year’s Eve, Valentine’s Day, etc.) features  an all-star cast and touches on the comedic side of leading independent and secret lives away from parents, the ups and downs of co-parenting, the struggle of the single parent, the new parent, and reuniting with birth parents.

Lorene Scafaria’s charming dramedy starring Susan Sarandon and Rose Byrne on the other hand, chooses to focus on only one powerful storyline as we see life through one ultimate relationship of mother and daughter.

I’m not going to compare them beyond their genre, because that’s the extent of their likeness.

What I will say is that there’s definitely a variety of movies out there, and if you do enjoy films about the inner-workings of family, chances are you’ll be happy to check both of them out while they’re in the theatre.

Mother’s Day

I can’t hide the fact that this film is not one of my favourites but Elevation has an otherwise awesome roster with fresh features like Sing Street (now playing) and A Bigger Splash coming out this weekend.

I’ll say this— if you are a diehard Garry Marshall fan there’s a chance that you will enjoy this lighthearted flick. I loved Pretty Woman. And I swooned over The Princess Diaries as much as everyone else (um, what? It’s a good movie, people!) but something about Mother’s Day falls a little flat for me. I wanted it to be good, really I did. But the interwoven stories seemed more contrived than usual, and the chemistry between the all-star players (Jennifer Aniston, Kate Hudson, Julia Roberts and Jason Sudeikis) didn’t really speak to me as I hoped it would.

The movie does try to address some heavier hitting issues by skimming the surface of racial tension in families, the introduction of same-sex relationships, handling grief and parent loss etc. But there doesn’t seem to be any follow-through, and the characters that should share in the ensemble lead roles seem relegated to hollow supporting stereotypes. Aasif Mandvi who plays Kate Hudson’s lovely husband Russell, for example, comes across as dismissive comic relief instead of emerging as culturally validated and relevant in the face of blatant racism. The same goes for same-sex couple played by Cameron Esposito and Sarah Chalke who seem to be ‘the joke’ instead of their discriminating and bigoted parents. Similarly, Jennifer Garner seems to get more screen time as the deceased wife of grief-stricken Jason Sudeikis, instead of his supporting maternal friend and positive influence Kimberly (played by Loni Love).

Now I did laugh a few times and my chin even wobbled a bit. But I’m just saying, if they’re going to make a movie about realizing the joys of diversity in family situations, couldn’t they have featured more of the beautifully diverse cast in the spotlight instead of the 4 top-grossing safe bets?

Check out my vlog for some more insights and find out my final grade:

The Meddler

This charming story on the other hand made me laugh, cry, and call my mother the minute I got out of the theatre.

A relatable and timeless story, The Meddler focuses on a mother (Susan Sarandon) who follows her grown daughter (Rose Byrne) to LA in the wake of her husband’s passing. On her road to closure and moving beyond grief, she rediscovers relevancy in her own life and her relationships, as well as her capacity for adventure.

Sarandon is masterful. Byrne shines in this anything but glam role, and Lorene Scafaria‘s script and direction will make you fall in love with your own life and your mom’s, even if it’s just for a few seconds.

I don’t even want to say too much more— you can watch my vlog below and find out what my final grade is, but I will talk about one more thing that made me happy.

It is so damn refreshing to see women playing their own age without slick objectification and plot twists so prominent in so many films. These characters’ lives were interesting just as they were, and they themselves were intelligent, engaging and beautiful just as they were. No divas, plot devices, spray tans, sex pots, or espionage necessary.

More, please.

A huge thanks to film critic and writer Ulkar Alakbarova for bringing me along on this one!


Make sure you subscribe to our YouTube channel so you don’t miss any of our reviews, news, and fun!