There is nothing particularly new or special about the plot of this film. But writer/director Lorene Scafaria (Seeking a Friend for the End of the World) wasn’t really looking for new, she was looking at her characters and how they survive loss and life. The answer, of course, is by living. The trick is to do that for yourself and not others.
As sweet and amusing as the film is, the only solid reason to see it is for Susan Sarandon’s (The Big Wedding) often subtle performance. As brash and big as her character is, there is an ocean roiling under the surface. To Scafaria’s and Sarandon’s credit, it is never spoken about, only observed and those are the most effective moments in what is otherwise somewhat of a Hollywood fantasy.
As the daughter, Rose Byrne (Adult Beginners) is fine, but she hits on a single note for so much of the film that she becomes uninteresting. Not unreal, just simply numbing. On the other hand, JK Simmons (Kung Fu Panda 3), while doing his best Sam Elliott, is fairly straightforward but fun to watch as he tries to unravel the mystery that is Sarandon. There are a slew of cameos as well, but those are more fun to spot than to call out.
This is light fare and certainly worth a single watch, but you don’t have to rush to it either. It will be circulating for a long time and its truths won’t get stale.