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You Think You Know that Katie Holmes Can't Act, But 'Miss Meadows' Reminds You that Katie Holmes REALLY Cannot Act

By Cinesnark | Film | November 17, 2014 |

By Cinesnark | Film | November 17, 2014 |

Holy shit, you guys. This is one terrible movie. It’s so bad on so many levels, and I honestly don’t know which one is the worst. I think the part where mental illness and explosively violent rage outbursts are treated as adorable personality quirks is the worst one, but Katie Holmes’s acting is pretty rough, too. I don’t know where to start there’s so much to cover, so let’s break this shitpile down.

Miss Meadows is an extremely misguided attempt at social commentary and/or black comedy from writer/director Karen Leigh Hopkins (screenwriter of Stepmom and Because I Said So) and it stars Katie Holmes as Miss Meadows, a school teacher with old-fashioned manners and many “quirky” mannerisms, such as dressing like a 1950’s housewife and always wearing tap shoes everywhere she goes. She talks to imaginary animals and shoots bad men in the face. There’s obviously something wrong with Miss Meadows, but we’re not supposed to know what.

Except that it’s incredibly obvious from the beginning that she has, at the very least, a mild case of arrested development. And that, combined with her overprotectiveness toward the innocence of children, makes it pretty easy to decode the secret message—something bad happened to Miss Meadows as a child. Conveniently, there are even flashbacks showing us this very thing. So there’s no mystery to the story because we can decipher all of this within the first ten minutes of the movie. There’s not even a hint of “will she get caught” thrown in for a little tension because Miss Meadows starts dating the Sheriff (James Badge Dale—why isn’t he getting better work than this?!) who covers up her crimes.

A movie like this requires two things: 1) Total commitment to the premise, and 2) a hella compelling lead performance. Miss Meadows has neither. The movie flits between tones, toying with being satire and a thriller, with dashes of fantasy and romantic comedy sprinkled in—don’t get me started on the disturbing sex scene in which Miss Meadows giggles like a child the whole time—and Holmes isn’t remotely up to the task of carrying a movie like this. To really pull of a character like Miss Meadows, you need an actress with equal parts charm and edge, like Chloe Sevigny or Evan Rachel Wood or Zoe Saldana or ANYONE OTHER THAN KATIE HOLMES.

The best version of this movie is the one in which Miss Meadows, the vigilante, squares off against the recently-paroled child molester played by Callan Mulvey. By far the most interesting scenes in the movie are the two in which they show each other their true colors. If the whole thing had been their cat-and-mouse, maybe it would’ve been okay. Holmes would still be a problem, but at least the story would’ve been more coherent. It’s so frustrating to watch a movie blow a good premise, and Miss Meadows has the potential to be either a completely bonkers black comedy, or a flat-out psychotic thriller. Instead it’s just this terrible heap of Katie Holmes’s bad acting.

And then there’s the issue of mental illness. Miss Meadows is very obviously Not Well, and yet somehow this is never directly addressed. Her neighbor picks up on some idiosyncrasies but shrugs them off as nothing more than personality quirks, and the Sheriff is fully aware of the fact that she is KILLING PEOPLE, but he actively participates in covering up her crimes. The moral of the story is either that vigilantism is good, or that mental illness is nothing more than a series of cutesy personality traits (that occasionally manifest in violence). It reminds me of Silver Linings Playbook, like all we need to deal with mental illness is a dance contest. Except in this case, it’s manners and murder. Jesus. This movie deserves to be punched in the face.

Cinesnark also writes reviews for her own outlet. You can follow her on Twitter.

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