Seizing her best role in years with appealing gusto, Susan Sarandon is a joy as the meddling character at the heart of this winning comedy drama.

Newly widowed, she has left her former Brooklyn and New Jersey haunts to live near her screenwriter daughter (Rose Byrne) in LA. Sarandon bombards her with phone calls and texts, turns up unexpectedly in her flat and offers unsolicited dating advice.

After the exasperated Byrne flies to New York to shoot a TV pilot show, Sarandon turns her attention to people she encounters, including young store worker Jerrod Carmichael, hard-up bride-to-be Cecily Strong and a chicken-keeping, motorbike-riding retired cop (JK Simmons, providing Sarandon with a laid-back, utterly charming love interest). Inevitably, she starts meddling in their lives, too.

Of course, her behaviour is partly to compensate for loneliness and grief after a long and happy marriage, but it springs from a warm-hearted and generous nature. Sarandon models her performance on writer-director Lorene Scafaria’s own mother, the inspiration for the film, and gives us something that is all too rare in cinema – an uplifting, uncloying portrayal of goodness.

The film premieres on Saturday 18 February.