14 February 2017 | cherold
Interesting but not entirely satisfying
Welcome to Me is a distinctly odd movie about a woman with a boderline personality disorder diagnosis and millions of dollars in lottery winnings who decides to have a vanity TV show all about her. It's an interesting idea, and it kept my attention, but I feel it wasn't quite the movie it might have been.
First off I'd like to talk about borderlines, because I've known a couple. Googling around I've found a few articles describing this movie as either a good or bad portrayal of BPD. Since BPD simply means you exhibit a large number of traits from a list (impulsivity, self-harm, etc.), Alice is acceptable as a borderline. And since being borderline can exist with other conditions, like depression or narcissism, you can't really complain about less typical borderline behavior.
That being said, Alice doesn't seem like borderlines I've known, and lacks some commonly known BPD qualities. For example, borderlines are often very good at feigning normalcy. I once saw a BPD friend, ranting and raving after sneaking out of a psyche ward and trying to kill herself, instantly become calm and rational when the cops came to check on her. Many psychiatrists don't like working with borderlines because they can feel tricked when that patient convinces their doctor that they're fine now right before a suicide attempt.
Alice, on the other hand, is just purely odd. And her oddness seems to come entirely from her mental illness. It is as though Kristen Wiig was so concerned with getting the symptoms right that she never thought about who Alice would be without her mental illness. But in truth, people with mental illnesses have traits that have nothing to do with being mentally ill (although some psychiatrists do try to fit everything about their patients into their diagnosis).
Because of this, Alice is an interesting character but not a really compelling one.
Meanwhile, the intriguing premise never quite gels. Is the movie a satire of celebrity and our fascination with trashy talk shows? Is it an attempt to portray mental illness? Is it an attempt to get laughs out of mental illness?
I never really felt this movie had a vision, or a point of view. Like the main character, the story feels like it's a bunch of ideas stuck together rather than a cohesive drama.
While the movie feels a little undercooked, I did enjoy it. Wiig may seem more like a mildly autistic narcissist than a borderline, and the story may feel unsubstantial, but it is amusing to watch Alice create her entirely peculiar show and get into weird dietary fixations. The movie may not make a coherent whole, but the pieces are pretty good in themselves.