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  • ferguson-627 November 2010
    Greetings again from the darkness. Reading the synopsis on this one could lead you to believe you've seen the same thing 40 other times - an indie flick where a nice guy rescues the teenage runaway who has fallen into a life of stripping/prostitution. This assumption would be incorrect. What sets this one apart is the script from writer Ken Hixon and the acting trio of James Gandolfini, Kristen Stewart and Melissa Leo.

    Two of those names may surprise you. Gandolfini is of course best known from his run on The Sopranos. What many don't realize is that he was a fine character actor prior to that iconic role. And many more know Kristen Stewart only as Bella from the Twilight franchise. In fact, she was a scene stealer prior to that in Panic Room and again in Into the Wild. Melissa Leo has experienced a career boon since her Oscar nomination for Frozen River. This year, she can also be seen in Conviction and The Fighter.

    Hixon's script is unusual because it has the feel of how these people would actually interact. Gandolfini owns a plumbing supply business and leading, as they say, a life of quiet desperation. His wife (Leo) has been a virtual recluse since their teenage daughter died. Their marriage basically died that night as well, though they keep going through the motions that 30 years together brings. While attending a convention in New Orleans, Gandolfini stumbles into a strip joint and falls right into the life of Stewart.

    The obvious thought is that he sees this as his opportunity to rescue her from this awful life and be the father he never got to be his own daughter. But there is more. He really comes across as a guy just searching for meaning in life ... his own life. He doesn't pretend to have the answers, but is not content to sit around and wait to die. His bizarre actions motivate his wife to actually leave the house and join him in New Orleans. Her reaction to what she finds is, once again, very real and un-Hollywood.

    No need for me to give away any details or plot points. Watching these three together is refreshing for this avid movie goer. The stereotypes are minimal. The dialogue is sparse, but authentic ... just like the setting. Searching for meaning can be a painful process and it's not always obvious when one has succeeded. The director of the film is avid music video director Jake Scott, who also happens to be the son of Ridley and nephew of Tony. Jake shows none of the over the top tendencies of his more famous relatives. In fact, the level of understatedness is a joy to behold.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    WELCOME TO THE RILEYS is a little sign on the garage doors of Doug and Lois Riley in Indianapolis, Indiana. It also serves as the title of this fine little film written by Ken Hixon and directed by Jake Scott that examines how the loss of a 15-year-old daughter Emily in an automobile accident has resulted in the crumbling of the parent's marriage and relationship. Doug (James Gandolfini) has an affair with younger waitress Vivian (Eisa Davis) while Lois (Melissa Leo) becomes so isolated in her agoraphobic state and psychotropic mediations that she is no longer available to Doug. A crisis occurs when Vivian dies in cardiac arrest and in Doug's honest grief he visits her grave only to find that Lois has unilaterally purchased a headstone with Doug's and Lois' names on it beside the grave of their departed Emily, a fact that enrages Doug.

    Doug goes to New Orleans on a convention and there encounters stripper/prostitute Mallory (Kristen Stewart), a 16 year old unkempt, foul mouthed runaway from Florida: Mallory sees the kind Doug as a john but Doug's interest is in her plight, not her business offerings. Doug obviously responds to Mallory as though she were his lost daughter, moving into her filthy apartment, trying to improve her view of life. Doug phones Lois that he is going to stay in New Orleans a while, a message that gives Lois the courage to actually leave her home and drive to New Orleans: during Lois' somewhat comedic trip she stops for food and a strange man comes on to her - something that awakens her self esteem before she reaches New Orleans. Once Lois arrives at her destination she is proud of overcoming her agoraphobia and Doug is happy to see the healing Lois. Together they stay with Mallory, facing the fact that for both of them Mallory represents the chance to restore their love for the daughter they've lost. How the three cope is the remaining of the film.

    The three leads offer polished performances - some of the finest work we have seen from both Gandolfini and Leo who together make this film better than the sum of its parts. Kristen Stewart immerses herself in Mallory and though she still remains a rather monochromatic actress, this role offers her the ability to stretch her acting chops: she is convincing as the victim of the dregs of society and makes us care about a character who seems to have few redeeming qualities. This trio of actors plays well as a small ensemble and the result is a film that has been far too overlooked by the general public. Recommended.

    Grady Harp
  • As a movie buff, I tend to gravitate toward the art & independent material but also due to my area's theater selections, see a fair amount of mainstream movies. Yes, I catch few good films but many times I find disappointment in both worlds. This time ended differently. I can't help but remark how impressed I was by the honest writing and acting of all three characters. Struck me as rather genuine, gritty and believable plot-wise. I also was unsure if I appreciated the decision to refrain from thoroughly fleshing-out every character. One has staggering levels in which they are left to guess about all three. Ie: What happened to Stewart's character other than her mom's accident and demise to lead her on such a disheartening path? Why not more information and insight as to chronicle the downward spiral of this marriage after the child's death? Why not dig into and explore the wife's inward turn to near-hermit? Why is the husband not only so disenchanted with home but also work, albeit this desperate & hopeless soul floundering about? Well, actually wise decision to leave this unknown; I see it's not all that critical to the success of the story. Writers today over-inform.

    Another area I originally thought to be a caveat to success was ending as it did. I mean everyone likes and cheers for a happy ending. But pondering this further--really how realistic is this in life? Moreover (and I've worked with troubled and lost kids) this film plays out precisely how life goes. It's not simple to intervene and turn someone around late in the game. There is wisdom, perception and integrity in this attempt to depict a more genuine article of life and that was done. I think Stewart's work was exceptional and her remark that she's "no one's little girl" (something to that affect) captures it brilliantly. You see throughout her vulnerability, survival instinct, yet damaged nature without her acting being sentimental or "hollywood". Yes, nice little gem.
  • "I can't come home right now. I know I'm not dead yet."

    Welcome to the Rileys is certainly a flawed movie. The characters are a little flat, and don't seem to be written as genuine people, at times. The story scenario, with its focus on lost loved ones and damaged people finding healing or comfort in each other, is one that seems to be in every other movie, recently. And the ending seems a bit rushed and unfinished.

    But still, I found myself enjoying it all.

    The key lies in the color and atmosphere added by using New Orleans as the primary location, and the performances of the three primary cast members. 

    The first point may appeal only to those who have visited or who live in the city. Filming a movie in New Orleans gives it an instant, appealing flavor to anyone who's been there before, walking past the same restaurants and down the same streets. Very cool. I'll admit that this might not be as big a deal to others as it was to me, though. 

    What everyone should be able to recognize and appreciate, however, are the great performances by James Gandolfini, Melissa Leo, and Kristen Stewart. They carry this movie with some really excellent acting, even though their characters are slightly hobbled at times with some spotty writing. Especially when it comes to the dynamics of the various relationships. Still, the three of them (especially Gandolfini and Stewart) easily make Welcome to the Rileys worth at least a rental.
  • Ever since it's initial premiere at the Sundance Film Festival back in January of this year, "Welcome to the Rileys" has always been on my must see list. Unlike other film critics and journalists, I unfortunately, do not currently have a career in film journalism. I currently do it as a hobby/part time job. What does this mean? Well I don't get to hit all the festivals I would like to, but only a few per year. In the near future, I would hope to have a career in film journalism and be able to attend at least 20 festivals a year. Thankfully, I did have the opportunity to catch a screening of "Welcome to the Rileys" at the 19th Annual Philadelphia Film Festival this year.

    "Welcome to the Rileys" tells the tale of Doug (James Gandolfini), a man who seems to have lost all desire for life. He lives at home with his depressed wife Lois (Melissa Leo) who hasn't left the house in several years. On top of this, he seems to have grown tired of his job as well as his marriage. One day on a business trip, Doug runs into Mallory (Kristen Stewart) who is both troubled and lost. This is when Doug realizes that he can help improve her life and seeks salvation by taking care of Mallory. This is where the underlying details of Doug's life begin to unravel...

    The best part of "Welcome to the Rileys" hands down are the performances. I have been following Kristen Stewart as an actress for several years now ever since I first saw her in "Panic Room." Many people seem to have a love/hate relationship with her thanks to her unemotional and stiff role as Bella in the "Twilight" franchise. I would love to convince people to give her a shot as an actress but people seem to be rather set in their ways on her. For Stewart, it's hard not being the typical hot young actress. She's a rather unique actress with a non-typical Hollywood look and that's what I like about her. As for her performance in "Welcome to the Rileys," she is both raw and risqué. The amount of bad language and how dirty Stewart looks in the film would make a sailor look clean. Stewart's performance is by far the best one in the film. She is a lost soul with very little self respect in the film. She plays a stripper, which is a role I never thought I would ever see her play but just plays it perfectly. This is without a doubt Stewart's best role to date and even tops her performance as Joan Jett in "The Runaways." I would even argue that Stewart deserves an Oscar for her performance here, that's how good I felt she was in the film.

    Besides Stewart, James Gandolfini gives an Oscar worthy performance here as well. I like the fact that Gandolfini decided to step out of his typical tough guy role to play a character who had a lot of heart and emotion was nice to see. This was a real turn for him. Many people know Gandolfini from "The Sopranos" and I am happy to say this role is a complete opposite from that. In this role, he is a very troubled character with a complex background. His performance is very dramatic, heartfelt, and powerful. When he argues with either Stewart or Leo in the film, you truly believe the raw emotion that is being displayed. Stewart and Gandolfini play off one another like pros in the film. They have great chemistry. As for Melissa Leo, she was also great in the film, she did a great job playing a wife who was damaged. When Stewart and Leo were together on screen their chemistry was amazing. As I said earlier in the review, the three lead roles were terrific! Director Jake Scott did a great job on this film. This was his first film since 1999 and he really hit this one out of the park. He captured the raw emotion and the suffering of all these characters, not to mention the fact he captured the grunginess of New Orleans. The direction of the film was great and there are several memorable scenes in this film including one scene with Melissa Leo's character Lois trying to drive her car for the first time in several years.

    Ken Hixon was in charge of writing the screenplay for "Rileys" and I have to give him some credit points here. Some might say the the dialog was too over the top for him but I think that really shows how uneducated and the lack of respect Stewart's character had. I think it made it much more believable to a way that someone who had that background would speak. I also think the character development in the script was on point. The characters had the perfect amount of background to not make them interesting and not clichéd.

    At the end of the day, "Welcome to the Rileys" almost lived up to all the hype surrounding it. I basically went to see the film for the performance by Stewart and Gandolfini and those definitely did not disappoint. The film, itself had good character development, good performances, was raw and gritty, and had a decent storyline. The ending wasn't perfect but it fit the bill in order to not be a typical clichéd movie. Its definitely holding a spot on my top 10 of the year even though it isn't near the top. The film is worthy of admission and I can definitely see this film getting some attention come Oscar season for the performances. If you are a fan of Stewart or of Gandolfini, this is a definitely a must see as well as those who appreciate a realistic dramatic film.

    MovieManMenzel's final rating for "Welcome to the Rileys" is a solid 8 out of 10.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    WELCOME TO THE RILEYS is the debut film from Jake Scott, the son of director Ridley Scott, and this drama is a painful meditation on the familiar themes of grief, loss, guilt and redemption. This is an assured debut from Scott junior, who shows himself to be comfortable in dealing with character driven dramas exploring emotionally charged material, more so than his famous father and uncle who are more at home with big budget spectacles full of action and special effects.

    Doug (The Sopranos' James Gandolfini) and Louise (Melissa Leo) Riley have been married for thirty years, but the death of their teenage daughter in a car crash has driven a coldness between them. Louise has rarely left the house since, while Doug deals with his grief in privacy. When Doug attends a convention in New Orleans he meets Mallory (Kristen Stewart), a teenage stripper cum prostitute on a path to self-destruction. Something in her strikes a paternalistic chord in Doug and he decides to help her clean up her life, whether she appreciates his efforts or not. His decision also helps to heal the rift in his relationship with Louise.

    Scott draws excellent performances from his leads. Gandolfini has an imposing presence, but here he tones down his more aggressive style, and comes across as a more sympathetic character. Leo is good as the fragile Louise, who slowly takes a chance and begins to emerge from her self-imposed withdrawal, and she adds a touch of humour to the film. And Stewart is again a revelation with a feisty and strong performance as the independent, foul-mouthed and brash Mallory. The phenomenal success of the Twilight franchise has given Stewart the freedom to seek out more gritty and edgy smaller films and challenging roles that enable her to flex her acting muscles (Adventureland, The Runaways, etc).

    Scott also makes good use of locations in the French Quarter to add atmosphere. Welcome To The Rileys is the type of gritty, edgy low budget independent film that struggles to reach a broad audience or gain a commercial cinematic release, but is nonetheless a rewarding experience well worth checking out.
  • sddavis634 November 2012
    Warning: Spoilers
    It's a tough balancing act - trying to be both sad and hopeful at the same time. "Welcome To The Rileys" tries to pull that tough balancing act off - and for the most parts it succeeds admirably. It's about troubled people and the tentative relationships they have with one another. James Gandolfini and Melissa Leo are the Rileys - Doug and Lois. Several years before the events of this movie their 15 year old daughter Emily (their only child) was killed in a car accident. They've never really been able to put the pieces back together. Their life is empty and shallow; their relationship is practically non-existent. Lois is heavily medicated and can't even leave the house; Doug goes from work to his weekly poker game and has managed to develop a relationship with a local waitress on the side. Then she dies suddenly and unexpectedly, and Doug just wants out. At a convention in New Orleans, he meets Mallory (or Allison), played by Kristen Stewart. Mallory is a teen stripper and hooker, and she reminds Doug of Emily. He bonds with her (as far as that's possible) and takes care of her, while at the same time telling Lois that he's not coming home. Meanwhile, Lois finally decides she wants Doug back and travels to New Orleans. The three of them cautiously try to make this unusual relationship work.

    A big part of me looked at this with suspicious eyes - it's really not that believable. I'd love to believe that there are wonderful men out there just looking for an opportunity to help a teen prostitute without taking advantage of them. Unfortunately, the relationship between Mallory and Doug wasn't believable to me, and that was the biggest weakness of the movie. I understand that everyone in this is hurt and hurting, and maybe I can see hurting people latching on to each other, but I just didn't buy the relationship. I couldn't be Doug. I could see myself wanting to help a teen prostitute get her life together, but I couldn't see myself moving in with her and taking care of her, all the while watching her go off on her various "dates." That would drive me crazy. Doug's either a better man than I am or he's just an unrealistic character. I tend to think the latter.

    Having said that, I was able to get around my disbelief by simply watching the story and the characters. It's interesting; they're interesting. The performances from those three leads are very good, and you have an interesting mix of emotions as you watch this relationship evolve. You root for everyone. You want things to work out. In the back of your mind, you kind of hope that Mallory goes to Indianapolis with Doug and Lois, lives with them, becomes a second daughter to them and everyone lives happily ever after. On the other hand, you really don't want that because it would be too much of a fairy tale. The movie does well to avoid the fairy tale.

    Eventually, Mallory runs away, and as desperate as Doug is to save her, he's finally brought back to earth by Lois's gentle reminder: "Doug, she's not Emily." No. She's not. The movie ends on something of an ambiguous note. Doug and Lois go home, Mallory heads off to Vegas to continue her "career." They maintain contact, but how things will work out in the end for any of them is left very much as an open question. I liked that ambiguous ending. It was very much in keeping with a movie whose credibility stretched the limits a bit.

    "Welcome To The Rileys" is a slow-paced movie; a very human drama. It doesn't unfold quickly. For all that (and for the overall air of unreality) I have to say (somewhat to my surprise) that I really enjoyed watching it. In its own way it's very moving to watch people who need help and people who want help trying to help each other, but not really being able to break through the barriers that a lifetime of troubles have erected. (8/10)
  • Realistic, hard-core, weepy, funny, stark! Tennessee Williams lives again in Ken Hixon! Perfect cast: James Gandolfini is fantastic as this big oaf sentimentalist who doesn't want to see his tombstone while he's still alive and so he lives every moment. Then there is his wife played by Melissa Leo, what she does in the driveway is laugh-out-loud funny. And finally, the great trio includes Kristen Stewart who is amazing (and whoever did her whore make-up--kudos!) as this worn-out sexual fighter who plays the lowest of the low with such warped dignity that I just want to hand her an Oscar now. And finally, New Orleans is the fourth character as a city that is also beat-up and striving for a rebirth, so I guess you could say she plays herself.

    Ken Hixon, I pledge to watch every thing you create 'cause you are the snake's suspenders!
  • Filmfanatic117 July 2013
    I thoroughly enjoyed this little indie drama. However, given the subject material, perhaps "enjoyed" is the wrong word. The cast: Stewart, Gandolfini, and Leo were all more than believable and often heart wrenching in their roles. Kristen Stewart's portrayal as Mallory is very touching and authentic. She played flighty and wary to perfection and never let Doug (James Gandolfini) or the audience forget that at the root, she is a good person who's been damaged. Gandolfini played the watchful friend of Mallory's and the good influence who's still reconciling with his own personal grief, irritation, and depression with aplomb. Melissa Leo's Lois is amazing with her conveying the character's reaction to the aforementioned grief. The three of them could be a believable and nice little nuclear family had their been different circumstances in the film. All in all, director Jake Scott's second feature set in New Orleans is a sadly overlooked independent film, despite it's debut at the Sundance Film Festival. "Welcome to the Rileys" is not a perfect film and is flawed, but the plot and the acting are not among them.
  • Doug Riley is a plumbing supplies contractor from Indianapolis who lives with his wife Lois and reaching their 30th wedding anniversary. After they lost their 15 year old daughter in a tragic car accident the couple has grown distant with no exchange of intimate relationship and spoken barely few words a day. It seems like Doug and Lois both miss their lives inside yet don't know where to begin in finding it again. Meanwhile Doug finds comfort in a black waitress yet that relationship doesn't last long either even though it brings some kind of a peace in to Doug's life. Lost and torn this couple seems to be just living their days for nothing.

    Doug goes to New Orleans for a convention and there he unexpectedly meets a 16 year old girl Mallory who is a stripper. Rather than taking advantage of her with her own consent Doug see someone else in her and starts to emotionally care for her. He somehow makes in an ambition to take this teenage girl out of her miserable life and give her some comfort and long lost fatherhood. But this task become difficult by the day as Mallory resist to change or to accept Doug's generosity even though she know his genuine motives.

    'Welcome to the Riley's' is a heartfelt drama. Most of the moments are silent and filled with self perseverance but the script gradually builds up a solid story line. It's not boring even though it's a little slow which almost all dramas are. But there is something special about this one. This one is about self retribution. Don't know if it's totally correct to describe it that way but I feel like Doug is trying to find peace in his heart by dedicating his effort to make a something good for Mallory. The society is a wicked place to be good some times which the script proves over and over. The harsh words coming out of Mallory's mouth must have pierced Doug's heart one too many times. Yet he patiently set on his path which maybe his experience in life has tough him to do so.

    Acting wise the movie is mention worthy. Doug played by James Gandolfini is a role skillfully done. And at the same time Melissa Leo effectively plays Lois the depressed, grieving mother who hasn't set foot out of the house for months. And finally the Twilight famed Kristen Stewart portraying the damaged and arrogant stripper girl make us forget her glamorous lead role in the romantic vampire franchise with her performance in 'Welcome to the Riley's'.

    As a viewer you will be made to judge these characters. You will be asked to decide if what they do is right or wrong or if they did really succeeded in their roles at the end. Even thought it has no fairy tale ending this movie will live in your minds for a long time.

    read more of my reviews at
  • 'WELCOME TO THE RILEYS': Three Stars (Out of Five)

    James Gandolfini, Kristen Stewart and Melissa Leo star in this indie film about a man who forms a special bond with a young stripper / hooker after losing his daughter at the same age. It's directed by Jake Scott (who's prior experience is mainly in music videos) and written by Ken Hixon (who also wrote 'INVENTING THE ABBOTTS' and 'CITY BY THE SEA'). The film premiered at last year's Sundance Film Festival and has received mostly positive reviews from critics. It marks a nice notable acting turn from Stewart, who plays a role quite different then any other she's done before.

    Gandolfini plays Doug and Leo plays Lois Riley, an unhappy married couple that have been troubled with depression for years after losing their fifteen year old daughter Emily. Lois hasn't left their home since their daughter's death and Doug, in a need for attention, has been having an affair with a local waitress. One day on a business trip to New Orleans Doug meets a sixteen year old runaway girl named Mallory (Stewart) working as a stripper at a strip club there. She reminds him very much of his daughter and after turning her down for a lap dance he instead escorts her home. The next day Doug offers to pay Mallory a hundred dollars a day to stay with her at her house. He begins fixing up the home and taking care of Mallory, almost pretending that she's his daughter. After calling his wife to tell her he's not coming home Lois decides she must, for the first time in years, venture out of her house and travel to New Orleans to save her marriage.

    The movie is a little clichéd and sugarcoated but there's also a lot of dark and ugly notes in the film as well and it manages to strike an even balance. The acting and directing is decent enough that the setup seems believable and you really learn to care for the characters. Gandolfini is good and lovable like always and Leo turns in another impressive performance and continues to show her range. It's Stewart that really shines in the film though and silences her critics by continuing to broaden her range as well (as she did with 'THE RUNAWAYS'). The film is emotional and rewarding to a certain extent. Nothing too powerful or memorable but a nice little indie drama that gives some good actors some nice material to play around with. Worth seeing if you're into that sort of thing.

    Watch our review show 'MOVIE TALK' at:
  • In Indianapolis, Douglas Lloyd 'Doug' Riley (James Gandolfini) and Lois Riley (Melissa Leo) are a estranged couple married for almost thirty years that grieves the loss of their fifteen year-old daughter Emily. Doug is a well succeeded businessman in plumbing business that likes to play poker every Thursday with his friend and to meet his mistress, the waitress Vivian (Eisa Davis), after the game. Lois is agoraphobic, takes many pills and does not have sex with Doug.

    When Vivian unexpectedly has a heart attack and dies, Doug goes to the cemetery and finds a tombstone that Lois has ordered with her and his names. This is the last straw in their relationship and Doug travels to a plumbing conference in New Orleans feeling lost. Doug is wandering on the streets and stumbles with a nightclub. The young stripper and prostitute Mallory (Kristen Stewart) invites Doug to a private lap dance and when he see his acquaintances from the conference in the nightclub, he accepts her invitation to hide from them but he does not have sex with the teenager. There is an incident but then he takes Mallory home and decides to stay in her derelict house to help her. Doug calls Lois and tells to her that he would stay in New Orleans for a while. Lois decides to drive to New Orleans in Doug's car and he introduces her to Mallory, whose real name is Allison. The couple projects Emily in Allison, but is there still hope or is it too late for Allison and themselves?

    "Welcome to the Rileys" is a family drama supported by the magnificent Kristen Stewart, James Gandolfini and Melissa Leo. Kristen Stewart is an actress that seems to be tailored to indie movies. The screenplay discloses the past events that have separated Doug and Lois to the viewer piece by piece. The story could have been of second chance in life and redemption, but the writer Ken Hixon chooses a more realistic conclusion but leaving some hope. My vote is seven.

    Title (Brazil): "Corações Perdidos" ("Lost Hearts")
  • Warning: Spoilers
    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.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    (Credit IMDb) Something's wrong at the Rileys. Married nearly 30 years, Doug and Lois rarely talk. She doesn't leave their Indianapolis home, and she's ordered a gravestone with their names and birth years on it. He has a long-time Thursday night mistress whom he invites to go with him to a plumbing supply conference in New Orleans. Once there, Doug calls Lois to say he's staying for a while. What's he leaving behind and what's he looking for in New Orleans? And Lois, can she break out?

    Welcome To The Riley's is another triumph on Kristen's already illustrious career. The powerful nature of the story is gripping, and the relationship between Mallory ( Stewart) and Doug ( Gandolfini) is compelling, but the most compelling is the damaged relationship between Doug and Lois ( Leo) It starts off with a disturbing opening with a car in flames, and only as the film goes along do we know what the symbol of it means. Lois is clearly a former shell of herself, and has detached her husband of 30 years in the process. Doug on the other hand is taking it hard in his own way. His affair proves that, and his bonding with Mallory gives him the spark he's been yearning for. The developing relationship is not without it's downfalls, but it's a treat to watch. Stewart is on the top of her game, while Gandolfini and Leo provide ample amounts of excellent support. Favorite part is the ending, it felt just right.

    Performances Kristen Stewart gives an electrifying performance as a hooker/stripper. She's gorgeous, yet stubborn, and cold at the same time. We understand as to why though, and I felt deeply for her throughout the duration. I believed in her, and wanted her to better herself. A complete makeover and I was utterly stunned. These idiots who say she can't act, are clearly too up themselves in there own Twilight jealously to realize she's an incredible talent. James Gandolfini is amazing in the lead role. I felt so badly for him, and what he was going through. He was a bit selfish at times, but once again, I totally understood his reasoning. I have not seen the Soprano's but after this performance, maybe I finally ought to. Melissa Leo is heartbreaking to watch and I felt her sadness. Her haunted memories are not fun to witness, but she gave a brave and excellent performance.

    Bottom line. I actually don't mind Twilight unlike a lot of others, but it's indie gems like these that truly made me become the fan I am. A must see for indie lovers or film buffs in general.

  • Warning: Spoilers
    While she's struggling with her lines in some scenes, Stewart pulls it off and is certainly expertly cast. I can't imagine what 18-year-old would've been a better candidate for the role of runaway stripper Mallory. Something about that gritty face, that strikingly unglamorous attitude, that hint of tomboyism in her looks, voice, and mannerisms, that works like magic.

    She drapes her character with subtle neurotic tendencies and seemingly improvised facial expressions, and when she lets loose, there's no stopping her. The amount of profanity borders on being intolerable, but is brought with such convincing teenage angst that it avoids turning cheap.

    The pace of the film is relaxed without getting tardy, although I did get the impression you only get to really know the characters when the story draws to a close, as if you're watching a pilot episode.

    The epilogue disappoints doubly as it presents a somewhat forced positive outlook, something the film is in no need of. While it is clear how plot events might have served as a catalyst for improvement in the lives of troubled married couple Gandolfini and Leo, Stewart changes from self-destructive hooker to neat schoolgirl, from one scene to the next, and nothing lingers to explain any bit of that transformation.

    I read that director Jake Scott didn't inherit every one of his father's movie genes, but there are similarities that shouldn't go unnoticed: here we have a plot that falls short when evaluated critically, especially in terms of credibility and logical sense, yet I found its aesthetic presentation, acting performances, and profuse melancholy too addictive to even want to think about the story anymore... a liberating experience I've come to love about most of Ridley's movies, anyway.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    With a night off, I decided to check out the latest offerings on Sky Anytime. There wasn't a great deal to choose from but as usual, I decided to select a movie I knew nothing about, maybe unearth a hidden gem so to speak.

    I wouldn't class this as truly great movie but a hidden gem, yes, for sure. I haven't seen much of the 'Soprano's' or 'Twilight' but I'm familiar with James Gandolfini and Kristen Stewart who star in them. In this movie they both played very believable and convincing characters. You could feel the sadness that Doug (Gandolfini) was suffering through and his need to get out and rediscover himself. The same can be said for Mallory (Stewart). We get the sense of her feeling trapped in her own little world and she has trouble connecting with people. These two meeting was a great thing for the both of them but I liked the way the movie steered away from a "happy ending" and instead focused more on them becoming friends but also trying to work out their own problems.

    We also follow the story of Doug's wife Lois (Melissa Leo), who again, is a person suffering through personal problems and sadness. When we see them all together, we get the feeling that they become close but there is still a long way to go in their quest of happiness and life meaning. The end of the movie shows this well. Things are looking up, but there is still a sense of awkwardness, fear and worry, but also happiness and positivity.

    7/10 for me. A good moving full of real feeling.
  • There is something about the atmosphere this film creates in its opening ten minutes or so. In these minutes we are treated to skillful acting from Gandolfini, Davis, Stewart and Leo which creates atmosphere, starts us thinking about the characters, and slightly depresses us as to the atmosphere and content of contemporary society. That by the end of the film we are more understanding is an incredible compliment to this film and how it is so intuitively and beautifully made.

    The script is wonderfully sharp, almost like a laser in places, and the pace is just like reading a poem with a constant meter. The cinematography is eerily in tune with everything else about this film, and the screenplay constantly makes us think and empathise with what we see. The music bubbles along in a hypnotic echo warning us not to run too fast or we will miss things.

    The acting is of such high quality throughout it would be wrong to pick out anyone for special mention and this is as true of the cameos as it is for everyone else. As films go it is as perfect as you can get. But don't take my word for it, just go and see it and spend time watching that opening sequence over and over again. This is story telling at its best.
  • This independent film "Welcome to the Rileys" is one when you watch you will feel gritty and touched and see that life is full of heartache, pain and it's very complex for some and the cast is an all star lineup featuring James Gandolfini, Kristen Stewart, and Melissa Leo.

    Gandolfini("The Sopranos")is Doug Riley a married man who's a humble guy yet inside he's a torched soul as he stills feels the pain and sorrow of losing his teenage daughter. And Doug decides to take a business trip from Indiana to New Orleans to get away for some pondering from his sweet yet neurotic and nervous ridden wife Lois(the great Melissa Leo). And upon arriving in the big easy he meets in a club a young exotic dancer named Mallory(Kristen Stewart). And Mallory has more problems than just being a stripper she's a messed up and foul mouthed little girl who needs direction.

    And ironically Doug fills the void in his heart by feeling sorry for Mallory as he ventures to her rundown apartment and slowly yet surely he takes her under his wing. Doug even starts to fix things up and stay right with her this is love attachment not of the erotic kind. It's like this guy with daddy issues has solved his complex life and bleeding heart with a new love as this takes away the pain of his lost daughter. And finally when Lois journeys down to the big easy she sees that them being with Mallory was not meant.

    Overall pretty good picture of emotional attachment and love still it proves that some connections were not meant to be still if you show a troubled heart love then hope and a new journey is possible.
  • It just blends with every single thread, the words that is, everything means something , its honest, it takes its time whilst blooming into a really nice welcoming scene that unveils more out of the hearts of each and every single character until we reach a sweet sweet climax. Just adorable, meaningful, thoughtful, transcending and glorious.. I wish most scripts could be this well put together!
  • Poor Kristen Stewart hasn't had an easy ride in the popular press. First she's constantly linked with - the pretty one-dimensional - Bella Swann from the Twilight franchise and then she gets her love-life in a tangle and everyone takes R-Patz' side.

    Somewhere, amid the mess of her personal life, she got round to making 'Welcome to the Riley's,' with Sopranos star James Gandolfini. Sadly, not enough people seemed to notice. It was an 'indie' film that never really got much of a mainstream release, therefore she remained 'Bella' in the press' eyes all the way through this.

    However, if you can give her a chance, you may get more than an hour and a half of her holding her mouth open and refusing to smile. James Gandolfini gives a - naturally - great performance as a man who had lost his teenage daughter in a car accident. On a work trip he gives his colleagues the slip and takes refuge in a strip club where he meets Kristen Stewart, who he beings a - plutonic - relationship with, treating her like a surrogate daughter.

    That's about it as far as the plot goes. At first (the beginning twenty minutes) I was pretty disinterested and was wondering what I got into. However, I was very pleased with how it transpired. It's actually quite a tender story of emotionally damaged people coming together.

    It's certainly not a laugh a minute and is the sort of film that you have to be in quite a deep, reflective, thoughtful mood to really appreciate (or just want to see Kristen Stewart not surrounded by computer generated monsters).

    Nice film. Give it a try.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    The death of a child is at the center of this drama. The parents, Doug and Lois, are grieving is different ways. Doug, tries to keep on going with his business and his friends, spending Thursdays playing poker and having sex with the waitress from a diner where he stops after the card game. Lois has become a recluse who does not venture out of the house.

    Traveling to a trade convention in New Orleans, Doug runs into a stripper, Mallory, who offers him sex for a price. Doug is taken aback because he realizes she is only a girl acting up at being a grown-up. It is clear Mallory has been wounded and has turned to dancing as a way to make an easy living. Prostitution is something that goes with the territory she has chosen.

    Doug feels bad for the girl, looking for ways to help her. He finds her ultimately living among the squalor of a destroyed city after Katrina. Doug offers her to pay for his stay, trying to engage her into making something out of her life. Lois, in the meantime, taking courage, takes the car and drives to New Orleans to be with Doug. She has bad feelings about his staying away.

    "Welcome to the Rileys" is an interesting feature from Jake Scott, working with the screenplay written by Ken Hixon. Mr. Scott comes from a family heavily involved in the movie industry. He is the son of Ridley Scott and the nephew of Tony Scott. It took him a while to get to this stage, apparently, after being involved in videos and another film which we never saw.

    This drama feels real because the viewer feels the pain of the Rileys. They have been carrying their grief for a long time and it has gotten between them in ways they never expected. The trip to New Orleans act as a catalyst in the Riley's marriage. Lois is an intelligent woman who realizes she is about to lose her man. She must overcome her fear of being out and living a normal life.

    Doug sees in Mallory the daughter that fate robbed him. In spite of her bravado, he finds the girl is an insecure young woman asking for help. After Lois arrive, there is no question of anything incorrect in Doug's relationship with the young stripper. Unfortunately, Mallory is not ready for a normal life. In the end, Doug and Lois find a way to stay together because of the love they feel for one another.

    Mr. Scott gets outstanding performances from the three principals in the film. James Gandolfini makes a convincing Doug in one of the best things he has made in his career. Melissa Leo is wonderful as Lois. Her fear of losing Doug is all she needed to come back to the world she abandoned with the tragedy in her life. Kristen Stewart shows a mature side in her Mallory. The best thing in the film is the ensemble acting the director achieves with his sure handling of the amazing cast.
  • I think the movie was great. All three actors acted really well. The story of the movie is not at all predictable. This is the reason why it grasps your attention. You want to see more of it when it ends. Kristen Stewart has done a real good job portraying a 16year old runaway and stripper. She was awesome in her character. This movie actually shows how a 16year old girl is independent and does not need support. The character is very strong. I really liked it. I would recommend that everyone should see this because this movie is different. It is a very interesting movie and people will enjoy it. I was glad that the story does not end how we hope. Some times a change makes you feel good.
  • No nudity. OK a bit of skin, nothing in my book. People playing out of their element. Boring trailer. I have absolutely no expectation that this movie is going to be good. But I was surprised not only by the acting, but the somewhat realism of the situation.

    The movie should pace itself better and give transition to the leading roles better. Particularly the girls, Soprano man cant do no wrong in my book now. I love Mell Leo, I am officially a fan now. Stewart needs to learn method, it just shows that she is somewhat overworked in the years and possibly the next few years, but it is a great movie to showcase her scale of performance. Should and definitely could do better. The direction is marvelous, reminds me a bit of the old porn movie about a man searching for his daughter in the underground world, or was it a priest of somekind, well I forgot.

    I hope for a better music, but what do you expect from a low budget movie, right? In the end I love the videotakes, expect nothing less from the actors involved, artistry is well in concern also. Dialogue is quite good, weirdly. Not too much forced profanity and not too less to make it less believable. I hope the best for all involved. Hopefully they can make better movie in new Orleans.
  • This is a simple film, constructed gradually, and one guided by a great sense of humanity. You do not know why Gandolfini goes into a strip joint, but he does, and there the stripper offers him sex. He pays like a customer but declines sex and you subsequently find out that his daughter, of about the same age as Stewart, had died in a car accident a few years earlier. His relationship with his wife, excellently portrayed by Melissa Leo, is very touching, and one based on mutual respect and trust, and both come to see Stewart as someone who could have been their deceased daughter.

    There is nothing soppy or sentimentalistic abut this movie. Stewart is a foul-mouthed and unkempt prostitute and drug addict, but the love shown by Gandolfini and Leo gives her a new outlook on life and she seems ready to change by movie's end.

    I found WELCOME an uplifting and humane film, and recommend it.
  • Doug Riley (James Gandolfini) is in a desolate marriage with his wife Lois (Melissa Leo). They have been that way since their 15 year old daughter Emily was killed in a car accident. Doug goes on a business trip to New Orleans and he befriends stripper Allison (Kristen Stewart). He tries to be a father figure to her.

    I have difficulty determining whether it's gritty and realistic or horribly tripe and contrived. I'm leaning toward contrived but I am still willing to like it. All three leads do good acting. Kristen Steward is her usual angry rebellious self. Of course she's tough but yet vulnerable. Gandolfini is a little bit less emoting. He's playing a kind of father-knows-best character. Melissa Leo absolutely hits it out of the park. She's barely holding it together at times. Then she shifts effortlessly into mother hen mode. She is the jewel of the movie.
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