• R, 1 hr. 50 min.
  • Drama
  • Directed By:
    Jake Scott
    In Theaters:
    Oct 29, 2010 Limited
    On DVD:
    Feb 1, 2011
  • Samuel Goldwyn Films/Destination Films


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Welcome to the Rileys Reviews

Page 1 of 32
Everett J

Super Reviewer

December 1, 2012
There's a lot of drams that are made to be "award bait". Which means, it will get a lot of nominations, which will increase it's visibility and make money. But, there are a lot of movies made for that reason, that don't come out right and end up getting no awards and making no money. "Welcome to the Rileys" is one of those flicks. It stars James Gandolfini and Melissa Leo as a middle aged married couple who have grown apart. Doug(Gandolfini) has a business trip to New Orleans, and while there he meets a 17 year old stripper(Kristen Stewart). He doesn't want a relationship with her or sex, he just wants to help her the way a father would help a daughter. Lois(Leo) is agoraphobic but finds the will to come to New Orleans to be with Doug. From there conflicts with Stewart and some secrets come out. The performances are all just ok. Gandolfini is the best, but he just seems to be going through the motions. Stewart does the exact same thing here as all her movies. Lip biting, playing with her hair, and pouting. She has that all down pat. The movie drags and doesn't really give much of a conclusion. Worth a watch? I a copy for free, and I'd say that would be the only reason to watch it. I'm sure there are some people who like this, but it didn't work for me at all really.

Super Reviewer

February 22, 2011
Welcome to the Rileys.

Good movie! Welcome to the Riley's was a very interesting little American indie film. 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. 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.

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?

Super Reviewer

October 11, 2012
A middle-aged man, still mourning the death of his daughter, flees his Indiana life to care for a damaged young prostitute.
I'm sorry to say this, but I can't think of a better way to evaluate Kristen Stewart: she just shouldn't act; she should wait tables or answer phones in an office. When she plays Bella or Snow White, I complain that her face is dead and that there's no energy behind her acting. Now, she plays a manic prostitute, a character who requires energy and life, but she's just horrid. I agree with Super Reviewer Alice Shen who says, "her speech, especially the cursing is pretty self-conscious. She only half-says 'cooter,' 'pussy,' 'fuck.'" Absolutely. And this self-consciousness permeates the rest of Stewart's performance.
The film is saved by James Gandolfini who gives one of the best performances of his career. His vulnerability is a trait Stewart could learn from. He creates a real, touching character, and it's a joy to watch Melissa Leo, who is also quite good, play off Gandolfini.
I like the story as well. It's not the tired "man saved by a good woman" trope that was overplayed long before I was born; rather, it's a man trying to save a bad woman in order to save himself. The film portrays middle-class America as both a hell from which Doug can't escape, but it's also what he tries to recreate with Mallory; I think many people who live in suburbia can identify with that contradiction.
Overall, I hope that someone can stop Kristen Stewart from making movies, but this film was nevertheless worth making.
Cynthia S

Super Reviewer

September 7, 2010
Well done. Good cast. Slow paced. I think that I would have preferred a more concrete ending, however. I do get how they all lived a lot more "well-adjusted" ever after, though. I guess I wanted more than just that. I have a teenage daughter. Maybe that made me see this movie differently...
Saskia D

Super Reviewer

September 29, 2011
I love these kind of movies. It's about people drifting apart and coming together again. Don't expect an original movie, just enjoy.
Nicki M

Super Reviewer

October 29, 2010
I read a few bad reviews on this which almost put me off watching it - glad I didn't listen,
This movie is about an older married couple who have lost their teenage daughter in a car accident. The wife has become so depressed she can't leave the house any more and the husband is acting out by having affairs behind her back
Out of town for a work conference one night, he meets Mallory (Kristen Stewart), who is a 16 year old runaway working as a stripper and prostitute. Seeing something in her that reminds him of his daughter, he decides to hang around for a while.
Kristen Stewart is really excellent here, I am surprised by the reviews saying she is awful. I really found her quite convincing and tragic.
You never find out Mallory's story, but I guess it is not important in the end. This is really a story about three broken people rebuilding their lives. The ending is open to your own interpretation, but to me it was a positive one.
Not exactly happy viewing, so it won't appeal to all, but to me at least, I found this worth the hour and a half!
Alice S

Super Reviewer

June 5, 2011
Surprisingly moving. The premise of a middle-aged man befriending a young prostitute because she reminds him of his dead daughter seems disingenuous at first, but the script is careful in avoiding sexual motivation on Doug's part and truly paints his motivations as paternal. James Gandolfini is rather forceful in the scene in which he yells at Mallory to get her act together and stop saying "fuck" so much.

Melissa Leo as Lois, the broken wife, provides some comic relief - oddly enough - in her get-out-of-the-house montage, and her reunion with Doug in New Orleans is sweet and cathartic.

Kristen Stewart is once again good but not great. Her screaming, fighting, crying is fine; her silent stare still penetrates; but her speech, especially the cursing is pretty self-conscious. She only half-says "cooter," "pussy," "fuck."

Super Reviewer

April 7, 2011
Something didn't work for me with "Welcome to the Rileys." While you can tell everyone involved treated the material with the utmost respect, I believe that the story is just too odd to be relatable. Granted, I can say I have never seen a film quite like this, a grieving married couple befriend a prostitute to improve her life and to find redemption themselves, but that doesn't make it good per say. James Gandolfini is a bit out of his range here as the oddly protective father figure. Melissa Leo is quite good as the psychologically damaged mother. Kristen Stewart is way out of her range as a foul mouthed, wayward, New Orleans stripper/prostitute, but thankfully she eases into the role as the film progresses. Some will find "Welcome to the Rileys" profound and affecting and others, like myself, will just find it a bit of odd, curious filmmaking. Nothing quite added up for me, but I can't dismiss it altogether for at least trying something new.

Super Reviewer

November 29, 2010
It's small, quiet indie dramas like this that remind me that not all entertainment has to be purely escapist to be entertaining.

This is a story of very broken people with fractured souls who find themselves coming together to find redemption and regain a proper place in the world. In broad terms, these characters aren't entirely original, but the actors playing them breath new life into them with some very strong and nuanced performances. I have said many times that Kristen Stewart actually can act, and she once again proves it here. She's a little wooden, but the stiltedness fits the character. Her turn as the troubled runaway stripper (who might be a minor) who's lost her way is probably the most raw and gutsy thing Stewart has done so far. It's gritty without being gratituous, and quite believable too. The same goes for the two veterans she's going toe to toe with. Leo and Gandolfini never get enough credit for the great work they do, especially in stuff like this. Well, Leo did finally win an Oscar, but you get my point.

The films may not be extremely realistic and believable, but it is definitely plausible. People deal with grief, demons, and various issues in odd ways, and the film shows just some of these. The whole thing could have turned into some sort of melodrama or quirky dramedy, but it's played straight, and probably all the better for it. The film is a little rough, like mainly the screenplay, but all things considered, it is a good film that is worth a look. Jake Scott (son of Ridley) makes a good case for why he is probably someone to look out for.

Super Reviewer

December 12, 2010
Welcome to the Rileys is much better than I expected. Of course it falls in some clichés and some scenes were not necessary (the opening scene, the car burning), but I liked it a lot. I like how the characters are forced to face themselves and how things change in different levels to each one of them. I like how Lois and Doug's relationship comes to a point where "you can leave me if you have to, but I'll never leave you" makes real sense, not longer being just random words.

Some people got bothered with James Gandolfini's accent, others with the fact that Doug smokes in the garage, others with the whole situation (not everything is about sex, guys) and others with Kristen Stewart's "lack" of acting or with Kristen herself. After watching it I was asking myself if we don't demand too much of an actor. Do we have an inexhaustible source of expressions, ourselves? Ok, we're not actors, this is their job, but is it really possible to incorporate a character to the point that the actor is not visible anymore? I only have a few names in mind.
Kristen Stewart doesn't do an outstanding job, but her acting is as good as some others Oscar or whatever nominated. She seems more comfortable in the skin of outsider characters and, in my opinion, she goes much better with them.

I never watch the final credits, but the last song caught me in such a way that I did it. Going Up The Country, played by the rockabilly band "Kitty, Daisy and Lewis" was the only one who remind me of New Orleans's music spirit. The soundtrack, that mostly features Marc Streitenfeld's instrumental songs, also has Odetta singing Go Down Sunshine, but I just can't remember in which scene it's played.

familiar s

Super Reviewer

February 19, 2011
Too good to be adorable, but it'd be unfair to absolutely pan it down. Quite watchable, but I won't recommend it. Also made me realize that Kristen Stewart can suck in other roles too besides Bella. I thought that her acting couldn't get worse than what it was in the Twilight series. But she courageously took the challenge and hit a new low. Hope one day she'd eventually get it right.

Super Reviewer

December 12, 2009
Cast: James Gandolfini, Kristen Stewart, Melissa Leo, Lance E. Nichols, David Jensen, Kathy Lamkin, Joe Chrest, Tiffany Coty, Ally Sheedy, Eisa Davis

Director: Jake Scott

Summary: Devastated by their daughter's death eight years ago, Doug (James Gandolfini) and his guilt-ridden wife, Lois (Melissa Leo), lead depressing lives without much meaning. But by forming an unconventional relationship with teen call girl Mallory (Kristen Stewart), the couple begins to rediscover hope.

My Thoughts: "The story is sad, depressing, and dark. It never really lightens up. The story is flawed as well. But the performances and these character's are so honest and raw that it doesn't hurt the film too much. James Gandolfini, Melissa Leo, and Kristen Stewart, all give great performances. I was surprised at just how raunchy Kristen Stewart's character was. She shows herself as the mess the character is. Dirty, gritty, foul mouthed, and trying hard to be tough. But then you see how broken she is, and how hard it is for her to come to an understanding that this man (Doug) doesn't want anything from her, just to help her. In a way it's like Doug has set his eye's on trying to save this young girl because he failed to save his own daughter. Although this was the Riley's story, I would love to see a film based on Stewart's character Allison/Mallory to see what happened in her life that has landed her in the life she's leading. I also felt the ending of the film was unsatisfying. Mostly because it left me wondering what happened to Allison/Mallory. It's a slow burning film that probably won't be for everyone."

Super Reviewer

October 30, 2010
"I can't come home right now. I know I'm not dead yet."

On a business trip to New Orleans, a damaged man seeks salvation by caring for a wayward young woman.

Welcome to the Rileys is not a great film, just a small, sometimes good one that depicts a forlorn couple befriending a 16 year old hooker in what might be a hope of bringing back their 15 year old daughter killed in an accident.

Doug (James Gandolfini) is a married businessman who loses his lover and figuratively has lost his wife Lois (Melissa Leo) probably as long ago as their daughter has been dead. On a business trip to sin city New Orleans he hooks up with hooker Mallory (Kristen Stewart) and takes care of her. No, they never make it even though she offers as a matter of business; he is far too concerned with her welfare to cross any imaginary social lines. Although their dialogue is sparse and their emotional range limited, Gandolfini carries the scenes with a slowly solid care that rings authentic. On the other hand, Stewart does her usual Twilight scowling and brooding all the time while looking at least 21, certainly not 16. Her "f-bombs" and "cooters" can't erase the image of the virtuous Bella.

When Lois drives to New Orleans to see her estranged husband, the drama comes alive as she comes to terms with her husband's eccentric behavior and catches the child care fever that has revived him. I like the idea that not very exciting people can be resurrected by the smallest acts of love, and I favored from the beginning that he would not engage in sexual activity with Mallory, giving an original variation on the old reform-the-prostitute motif.

Director Jake Scott, from the famous Ridley and Tony lineage, gives an authentic sense of New Orleans, seedier than you would expect and less rambunctious than you usually see. What you do see is redemption at a slow pace, a couple of great actors, and variations on some old themes sometimes moving and always interesting.

Super Reviewer

December 22, 2009
I really, really want to rate this higher but I just can't. Welcome to the Riley's was decent and enjoyable enough to watch, but now afterwards it keeps looking worse and worse. First off, I'm not sure about the premise of the whole thing. I mean, Doug solicits a lapdance, albeit reluctantly, then thinks, 'hey, I should redeem this poor girl' and we can say he was helping her but out of what motivation! She did not ask for help and he had absolutely no right to barge into her life and start messing everything about. He decides to play god with another person's life in order to cope with grief! That's supposed to be healthy, logical solution? You really do not feel any kind of connection with the material either; there's no emotional substance at all. Conceptually, the film has major issues, but by and large it's decent enough to watch. Still, there have been at least two other films this year that deal with the same type of material and do so in much, much better ways...
Lewis C

Super Reviewer

January 23, 2010
"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.
Gregory D

Super Reviewer

February 2, 2011
I watched this film with my sister. There is a specific scene in which Melissa Leo's character is asleep in the garage. She gets woken up by a thoughful, yet concerned neighbor. I remember telling my sister that the neighbor is someone I could definately envision living down the street from anyone. That neighbor was only in one quick scene, but it serves as a good example to what this film does well. This whole film is plausable, well thought out and well acted.
Mallory played by Kristen Stewart does this throughout the film. The characters are very real-world and even in the closing minutes of the movie, the viewer is left wondering what will happen to them.
Carlos M

Super Reviewer

October 29, 2010
I don't like Kristen Stewart, but she is fine here, backed by two powerful performances by James Gandolfini and Melissa Leo. A film that begins really great but soon starts to lose momentum as it gradually advances towards an optimistic resolution. I like the ending, though.

Super Reviewer

January 15, 2012
For the past eight years, since the death of their teenaged daughter, Doug(James Gandolfini) and Lois Riley(Melissa Leo), have been living lives of quiet desperation with her pretty much not being able to leave the house anymore. That moroseness deepens for Doug when his favorite waitress/lover, Vivian(Eisa Davis), suddenly dies. He is so depressed that he cannot even enjoy a business trip to New Orleans, seeking solitude which leads to a huge misunderstanding with Mallory(Kristen Stewart), a teenaged stripper/prostitute. Their second meeting, however, goes much better...

The faults with "Welcome to the Rileys" start with its inconsistency of tone, making me wonder at times whether or not it truly wants to be taken seriously, despite the heavy subject matter. But, sometimes the oldest cliches are the best cliches and the movie is mature enough to know there are no easy answers in life. And I especially like how the movie captures New Orleans. Add in a strong cast and stir gently.

Super Reviewer

October 31, 2010
It's been eight years since the death of their daughter, Doug (James Gandolfini), a man who seems to have lost all desire for life; lives at home with his depressed wife Lois (Melissa Leo) who hasn't left the house in several years. 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....

The best part of "Welcome to the Riley's" hands down is 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 cardboard 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, its 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 Riley's," she is both raw and smutty. The amount of bad language (The "F" word is used, I can't say how many times) 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 I feel she deserves an Oscar nomination for this role.

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 that had a lot of heart and emotion was nice to see. This was a real turn for him. Many know Gandolfini from "The Sopranos" (My favorite show) and I am happy to say this role is the 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 painful 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 damaged individual. Director Jake Scott does an admirable job, filled with 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 "Riley's" and I have to give him some credit points here. Some might say the dialog was too over the top but I think that it 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.

In the end, "Welcome to the Riley's" is a well-acted drama. I basically went to see this film for the performances by Stewart and Gandolfini and those definitely did not disappoint. The ending wasn't perfect but it fit the bill in order to not be a typical clichéd movie. It's definitely holding a spot on my top ten 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 its performances.

Story: C+
Acting: A
Direction: B
Visuals: B+
Overall: B

*** out of 4 stars

Super Reviewer

February 13, 2012
What a wonderful drama directed by Jake Scott! One of the best screenplays written by Ken Hixon, and starring perfectly cast Kristen Stewart, James Gandolfini and Melissa Leo... I could not ask for anything better this cold winter night! The story of Doug (James Gandolfini) and Lois Riley (Melissa Leo) who have been drifting apart since the death of their daughter Emily, was touching, developed almost to perfection and with minimal stereotypes! The sparse dialogue was authentic as well as the setting.

Lois wrestles with a suffocating sense of guilt over her daughter's death, while Doug is having an affair with a local waitress, Vivian. Suddenly Vivian dies and Doug finds himself in a New Orleans strip club during a business trip, realizing that he's come to a crossroads in life.. that's all you should know... you can see the rest on the screen!
And you can see a lot there! Especially very fine and smooth performance by James Gandolfini and outstanding acting by Kristen Stewart (many of you know her as Bella from the Twilight franchise). For the third star, Melissa Leo, I'll just say that she has experienced a career boon since her Oscar nomination for Frozen River, and here she proves that the nomination was well deserved.

Don't miss it if you have an opportunity to watch it!
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