In the film, Miss Meadows (Katie Holmes) has impeccable manners and grace, and she teaches these attributes, along, with the importance of courage and kindness, to her elementary school students, wherever she happens to be substitute teaching. Like the wise bluebird that follows her, she communes with nature and abides by it’s natural laws. Wherever she goes, Miss Meadows makes the world a better place to live, by whatever means are necessary.
With a kind of child-like approach, Miss Meadows does what law inforcement or good citizens cannot; she rids the community of predators and riff raff. She never looks for trouble, but she certainly never turns away from it, either. Her motto is one she teaches the children; “Everyone deserves a second chance, but never a third.”
From animal cruelty to pedophile priests to child abusers, when this pulp fiction Mary Poppins says, “toot a loo,” she means it. Her feminine beauty and simple moral code belie a tragic childhood. With the clarity of a child, and the sensuality of a young woman, she arrives in a new town, her Mary Jane shoes complete with taps on them, only to find what she was never looking for; love! And with a Sheriff (James Badge Dale) who just happens to be looking for a vigilante…
When their budding romance is tested, Miss Meadows finds a way to honor both her new love, yet stay true to her own unique, excruciatingly impeccable moral code. She is a true, modern, anti-hero.
Director and screenwriter Karen Leigh Hopkins discusses her journey in creating the film. “I wrote Miss Meadows over 14 years ago as I contemplated motherhood, and the beautiful responsibility of bringing a child into this sometimes wonderful, often horrifying, world. Was it fair to bring a precious new life here, and, if so, what would I teach my unborn child about navigating the wonders and terrors of this place. About the same time, a 12-year-old girl named Polly was abducted out of her bedroom slumber party and, tragically, murdered. News reports swarmed and one suggested that the cretin who stole this Childs’ precious life needed sympathy. Had we lost our minds in the politically correct grey matter? I had always thought of myself as a liberal thinker but at that moment I saw a clear, black and white world. MISS MEADOWS appeared to me – a person of manners and grace, who could bridge the gap between what parents and the law couldn’t – Miss Meadows could protect our children. Conjuring her gave me a strength and a newfound courage. And with every new atrocity in our society I asked myself what Miss Meadows would do – and that fueled my resolve; to give a life to this character and her world.
“I needed her. Perhaps, others needed her, too.
“Making this film has been the most creatively rewarding and emotionally humbling experience of my artistic life. Never before had I been more conscious of the idea that every single choice matters to the whole. From a producer that looked me in the eye and said, “I’ll get this done” and did – to every single crew member I tried to know by name to help this vision come to life literally brought me to a kind of new humility and gratitude.
“Finally, the transformation of Katie Holmes in the deeply complex and challenging role of Miss Meadows is a revelation; she is both fierce and vulnerable; charming and smarter than any room. Without question the right role for the right actress at the right moment in time. People often ask me, “Is this the movie you imagined?” and I say “It is more so” with regard to the heart and soul of this true teacher for our time, Miss Meadows.
“I liken directing to giving birth and the incomparable energy that the first infancy year takes from a parent. And never – since the birth and caring of my own little girl – have I been so consumed. It is the good work of this life and a life in
art, and a lesson that is an honor and a privilege to share.”