Based on a true story filmmaker Lorene Scafaria writes and directs a narrative of her own family dynamics after the death of her father in The Meddler. Scafaria adds, "This is my mother's story, but with a little more adventure and trouble and fun and even a love interest with a mustache." Scafaria continues, "This is also a story for anyone who knows what it is like to start over. It's for anyone who's been left behind. It's about our struggle to be understood, to not be forgotten." Scafaria concludes, "In reality, it's the story of someone we should all be so lucky to be annoyed with sometimes: a mother who loves us a little too much."
Marnie Minervini (Susan Sarandon) a New York resident and empty nester misses her daughter Lori Minervini (Rose Byrne) who moved to Los Angeles, California for work, as a screenwriter. The absence of their close relationship as mother-daughter affected Marnie more than Lori, especially after the death of her husband. Lori is grateful for the long distance between the two for awhile, but Marnie finds the loneliness unbearable without the loved-ones she wants near.
Marnie decides she needs to start a new life so she follows in her daughter's footsteps and moves to Los Angeles. Marnie is thrilled to be living near her daughter in a beautiful part of Southern California and tending to Lori like 'the good' ol days'. Lori's understanding and acceptance of her mother's love is welcomed to a certain degree. Unaware of her obtrusive behavior Marnie invades Lori's privacy one too many times. Lori feels smothered by Marnie's motherly-love and lays out strict personal boundaries between the two.
Marnie is hurt and shocked by Lori's harshness. But, she understands that Lori's recommendation, though difficult to handle, is for her own good. Marnie knows that it is necessary to not be so attached in order for her to seek out her own interests so that she will move forward and create a new life for herself. Realistically, she can't depend on Lori to be her only happiness. Marnie as a giving and caring aging widow finds purpose when her motherly- love is poured out on others and received appropriately. Initially challenging, Marnie's new life in California takes her on a journey filled with wild adventures in mentoring others and finding the sweetness of a crazy kind of love with the help of Zipper (J.K. Simmons).