Jake Scott's 'Welcome to the Rileys' tells a moving human story about three people lost in their own misery. In the beginning it looks like just another grief flick with a breaking marriage but this is a wrong assumption because 'Welcome to the Rileys' is far from typical. What sets this one apart are the marvelous performances of its three leads and Ken Hixon's terrific screenplay.
Not to undermine Scott's direction as he does quite an impressive job too. The New Orleans setting is quite refreshing and pleasing to look at. His attention to detail is quite noticeable and his subtle approach in presentation and humour is very effective. The director's job is made easier by his talented cast. He wisely lets his actors carry the film.
The story of 'Welcome to the Rileys' is told through interactions and this wouldn't have worked if it starred lesser actors. James Gandolfini wonderfully downplays his part. His Doug Riley is almost the complete opposite of Gandolfini's iconic Tony Soprano and the actor shows no difficulty in playing the part. Melissa Leo effortlessly plays her part and she does it with full conviction. She pairs up very well with Gandolfini and they're very believable as a married couple. Kirsten Stewart surprisingly holds her own. Notwithstanding her poor performances in previous films, she proves that she can actually act for a good director.
Many seem to be disappointed by the ending as they felt the conclusion was much ado about nothing. However, I felt it was the right ending, an ending that reflected hope for the three principle characters (without the using clichés). 'Welcome to the Rileys' is definitely worth seeing.
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