Jake Scott, Argonaut Pictures, 2010. Starring James Gandolfini, Kristen Stewart and Melissa Leo.
Question: Do you think the actors who have played two of the most well known TV and movie characters in the last 10 years (Tony Soprano and Bella Swan) can be seen as anything else? I say yes - Welcome to the Rileys proves that.
I saw a clip from Welcome to the Rileys when it was getting ready to debut. The clip didn't show much and I couldn't understand who these two characters were to each other. However, I rented it to see what the story was about. Now, you know I am not going to spoil it for you but rest assured the relationship portrayed in this film was different than most I have seen between an older man and young female - and worth watching.
Welcome to the Rileys takes a subject matter that many families have thrust upon them and shows the aftermath through a profound and realistic view point. Life is messy, cruel and can kick you in the stomach but many films like to make sure you leave satisfied in the end with everyone smiling and fixed. This film doesn't try to solve all the answers and it doesn't clean it all up either. How refreshing.
James Gandolfini plays a tender but broken man who is stuck in his marriage and life. He took on this role with an authenticity that I have never seen him try before. His portrayal brought tears to my eyes when his character decided to release the pause button from his dilemma. Kristen Stewart grabbed her portrayal with a vulnerability tied in with an inner strength only real survivors seem to possess. There is no resemblance to her past roles in this movie.
However, Melissa Leo, who was recognized at the Academy Awards for her outstanding performance in The Fighter this year, probably helped both the other actors reach the story's true potential. She, too, showed a real character and the process one goes through if they allow the tragedies of life to consume them.
This is not a fast-paced movie and it won't give you all the answers, but I thoroughly enjoyed the story. I recommend Welcome to the Rileys, even it is just to show everyone that iconic characters don't need to pigeonhole an actor.
My favorite thing: The giggle I had when I wasn't expecting any light-hearted parts in this movie.
My least favorite thing: Realizing the basis of the story is probably more prevalent than I would like to consider.
Did the previews show too much? I actually never saw a preview - just the same clip of the scene outside a laundromat.
Random thought: Jake Scott, the director of this film, is the son of Ridley Scott and the nephew of Tony Scott. He directed one of my favorite videos of all time: R.E.M.'s "Everybody Hurts."
Length: 110 minutes
Review: 7 out of 10
COMING SOON: Love and Other Drugs