In her toughest role to date, Katie Holmes nails the role of Miss Meadows. Given that the film struggles with its tone, this could have been a trainwreck for Katie, but she manages to keep herself on track and delivers her best performance to date.
Even before the opening titles, we are presented with the odd juxtaposition of Miss Meadows. In her flowery dress, she walks down the street reading a book of poetry as she dances in her tap shoes. Give her an umbrella and she’d be the second coming of Mary Poppins. A old man in a truck starts driving alongside her, making sexual advances, then pulls out his gun telling her to get into the car. Without warning, Miss Meadows pulls out her own gun, shoots the man, and then continues on her merrily way.
The premise (girl next door who moonlights as a vigilante) is a ridiculous one, and Katie has fun with it. She’s always had that sweetheart charm, but she turns it up to an 11 in this movie with her insanely proper english, her megawatt smile, and says “toodaloo” as she ends every conversation. It’s a cartoonish performance that works.
Then the film starts to peel away the facade of Miss Meadows, and the story struggles to figure out what it wants to be. A dark satire, a over-the-top comedy, a dramatic character study, a thriller…it’s an unfortunate mix of various elements, but it doesn’t falter Katie. She does a fantastic job at developing the character and slowly revealing the underbelly of her character’s sunny deposition. It’s fascinating to watch.
The script is contrived with its plot points. Miss Meadows just randomly stumbles upon acts of violence and acts like a vigilante. They seem to come out of nowhere. The climax is even more hastily constructed.
Part of the fascination of Miss Meadows is how can a performance be so focused when the film around her becomes such a mess? Many are going to hate Miss Meadows but it’s a compelling watch with an outstanding performance from Katie Holmes.