Too-da-looing and Tap Dancing Her Way to Justice
For the past 14 years, Karen Leigh Hopkins has been trying to turn Miss Meadows into something other than a character on paper. At the Q&A that followed the premiere, Hopkins told the audience that the idea for the film came to her 14 years ago when watching the evening news. Hopkins stated that she saw a story that “asked the viewers to have sympathy for a man that killed an innocent person.” This news instantly triggered Hopkins to write Miss Meadows. Now, after 14 years of broken promises from film studios and television networks alike, Miss Meadows has finally made her way to the big screen at the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival.
Miss Meadows stars Katie Holmes as a seemly innocent substitute teacher who isn’t as innocent as she seems. Miss Meadows is a woman with a dark past that has shaped her into the woman that she is today. Without giving too much away, Miss Meadows feels that it is her civic duty to right the wrongs of society. In other words, Miss Meadows wants justice to be served and doesn’t think that living in fear is something that any citizen should have to face. If the police don’t stand up for what’s wrong, well Miss Meadows isn’t afraid to take matters into her own hands.
Truth be told, I totally dug the idea behind Miss Meadows. I liked that this prissy and sweet woman isn’t afraid to stand up for what she believes in and will take matters into her own hands if the situation calls for it. I think the story as a whole says a lot about our society and how we as citizens fear for our safety. The film makes us question the idea of authority figures and how we as citizens should be allowed to take matters into our own hands if we are in danger.
It was so refreshing to see a strong female character like Miss Meadows in a film. Miss Meadows is like the older and more refined version of Hit-Girl from the Kick-Ass graphic novels and films. Holmes plays the character in a way that is both charming and creepy at the same time. Let me just say this, I wouldn’t mess with Miss Meadows if she threatened me. I can also say that this is one of the better performances that I have ever seen from Holmes simply because it is very different from anything she has ever done before.
Now, even though I enjoyed the general foundation of the film and Holmes as the lead character, I do have a few problems with the film.
During the film’s first half, Miss Meadows is very light hearted and comedic but during the second half it quickly gets serious and dark. I honestly didn’t think the transitioning back and forth between tones worked well and as a result made the film feel disjointed. There were moments where it seemed like the film was trying to be a satire in the realm of God Bless America, but it missed the mark. It was pretty clear that Hopkins was attempting to blur the lines between genres and try to mix and match tones, but the film went from way too cutesy and light-hearted to way too serious.
Another thing that bugged me was the backstory of Miss Meadows. Now, there were certain elements to this story that I liked, but one part of the grand reveal was rather clichéd and mainstream. I would much rather of just had the revenge story than the other one that came along with it. I understand that Hopkins was trying to add depth and trying to showcase the character as being “stuck” however, it was just too much of a “oh, come on moment” for me. I think the script at this point in the film went a bit overboard by trying to have multiple twists.
The last thing that kind of rubbed me the wrong way about the film was James Badge Dale as the Sheriff and the love interest of Miss Meadows. I didn’t think there was anything wrong with the character or the performance per say, but it did feel like the love story was just added in when it wasn’t necessary. Hopkins could have simply just made the Sheriff have a crush on Miss Meadows and I think it would have worked just as well. I feel so many films try to incorporate romance into the stories and not all of them need it. This is definitely one of those situations.
To be perfectly honest, I do think Karen Leigh Hopkins did a good job with the film. I will admit I think it would have been a little bit better of a film if Hopkins was solely the screenwriter rather than both writer/director. I think with a more skilled director helming the project would have eliminated some of the film’s problems and the overall story would have been executed better. I think Hopkins felt passionately about the character and really wanted to tell a story that asked the audience to think. Miss Meadows did have quite a bit of substance to it, but with its flaws some of it will probably get lost by the time the film comes to a close.
In conclusion, Miss Meadows is a solid effort from Karen Leigh Hopkins. It is clear that this was passion project and a story Hopkins really wanted to tell. Holmes’ portrayal of Miss Meadows was clever and stood out from other female vigilante characters in film. The plot addressed a lot of issues facing modern day society and told an interesting tale. Miss Meadows was a lot of fun and will more than likely tap dance her way into your heart. Too-da-loo
MovieManMenzel’s final rating for Miss Meadows is a 7 out of 10.