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USA 2010
Directed by
Jake Scott
110 minutes
Rated MA

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3.5 stars

Welcome To The Rileys

If you like small scale dramas about ordinary people lives, Welcome To The Rileys will be a real treat. Although arguably a little too much beholden to the redemptive tendency in mainstream American film it is by-and-large a moving film that speaks to the reality of life.

James Gandolfini plays Doug Riley, an Indianapolis plumbing supplies contractor whose depressed wife, Lois (Melissa Leo), hasn't left their suburban house in years after their daughter was killed at 15 in a car crash.  Doug goes to New Orleans for a convention, he meets a skanky underage stripper Mallory (Kristen Stewart) with whom he identifies and decides to take her in hand.  He decides that he is no longer interested in his boring life he tells Lois he will not be returning. She decides to go to New Orleans where she has to deal with Doug apparently bizarre behaviour.

One of the beauties of the film is that Ken Hixon's screenplay feels grounded in real experience – Doug, Lois and Mallory are not airbrushed archetypes seen a hundred times before but real characters, stumbling their way through life to the best to their abilities. Equally the performances are top-notch, with Gandolfini and Stewart particularly impressive. Leo has a less prominent role but she too makes her character’s pain palpable.  Scott (son to Ridley) does a fine job of bringing these ingredients to the screen, pulling up short of social realism but also eschewing pre-packaged sentimentality.




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