I’m surprised this charming and insightful 2016 movie wasn’t screened at the cinemas here. I really enjoyed this autobiographical story about a mother and her daughter.
Susan Sarandon, whose movies I always watch, plays the mother, Marnie Minervini. Her husband died of an illness and she relocates from New Jeersey to Los Angeles to be near her daughter Lori (Rose Byrne), a successful screenwriter, with a comfortable bank account, an apartment near the prestigious The Grove and a new iPhone.
Marnie has lots of time on her hands, so besides volunteering at the hospital and helping a young employee at the Apple store, she smothers Lori with her motherly love. The dozens of texts, calls, unexpected visits and conversations dominated by unsolicitated advice force Lori to draw strict personal boundaries. Marnie finds other ways to channel her generosity to change the lives of others. She makes new friends, finds a new purpose in life and gets caught up with an unexpected romantic relationship with an ex-cop named Zipper (J. K. Simmons) who shows her why a Harley-Davidson “is not a motorcycle”.
Beyonce’s hit I Was Here features prominently throughout the movie. Other songs I like include Frank Sinatra’s Fly Me To The Moon, Dolly Parton’s Here You Come Again and To Daddy, Shep and the Limelites’ Daddy’s Home and Chip Taylor’s Angel In The Morning. I also discovered a band called Blue Traveller, and their hit Run Around. (There’s a scene in which the band is doing a mini concert.)
I am particularly impressed with those scenes that go from anger to tears to laughing and back to tears. The movie is about people that are funny and sad and actually about humanity. It also tells of how people grieve, and about loss and loneliness. There are so many details that are relatable to many people and their mothers. The world is a scary place, but everybody knows mothers love their children unconditionally.
Scenes that involve movie making (shooting, how extras work on set, a Hollywood studio) and the many specific locations featured – The Grove, the Apple Store and the boat on Marina Del Rey – make this movie also look like it’s showcasing Los Angeles.