Bland thriller with gratuitous sexual situations, violence.
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A Lot or a Little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Welcome Home is a 2018 thriller in which an American couple renting a vacation home in the Italian countryside discover they're being stalked and spied on by a creepy local. Expect frequent gratuitous near or brief (sides of breasts) nudity of Emily Ratajkowski) -- skinny dipping, emerging in and out of the shower, getting dressed or undressed, or covering her breasts with her arms while in lingerie on a regular basis throughout the movie. Her boyfriend, played by Aaron Paul, gets aroused while perusing a book of erotic art from ancient civilizations and is shown masturbating (no nudity) while the bad guy, played by Ricardo Scamarcio, spies on him from a room filled with TVs displaying what's on cameras hidden throughout the vacation home. Some violence -- fighting with canes, knives, guns, resulting in death. Lead male character gets drunk in a bar with the bad guy, who brings in two attractive local women, and while Paul's character is shown drunk and presumed drugged, the two women take him to a hotel room, where they film him in bed while they're on the verge of having sex. Profanity throughout, including "f--k" and "f--king." For animal lovers, the close-up of the bad guy preparing a rabbit for dinner -- skinning the body and then cutting it up into little pieces (with blood) -- will be a bit much.
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What's the Story?
In WELCOME HOME, Bryan (Aaron Paul) and Cassie (Emily Ratajkowski) are an American couple trying to rescue their failing relationship by renting a vacation home in the Italian countryside. When they arrive, it's everything they hoped it would be, but Bryan is unable to get past Cassie cheating on him with a coworker, even as Cassie has begged for his forgiveness. In order to take a break from the bickering, Cassie decides to go on a run on the paths around the villa, but trips on a branch and twists her ankle. She's brought back to the villa by Federico (Ricardo Scamarcio), a seemingly charming local man who starts making suspiciously-timed appearances after this initial meeting. While Bryan suspects Federico of having ulterior motives toward Cassie, Cassie considers Federico to be a nice local man who just wants to be friends. After going to the nearby village, Bryan and Cassie get into an argument, and Bryan goes to the nearest bar, where Federico arrives, and the two get drunk while Cassie sits at the villa wondering where Bryan might be. The next day, Bryan now knows that Federico isn't the charming man he's making himself out to be, and must find a way to prove to Cassie that Federico is up to no good, and soon, they discover that he's much worse than Bryan suspected.
Is It Any Good?
This is a thriller that starts off with some promise, but soon lapses into predictability. It's a variation of the "city folk go into the countryside and fight creepy country folk" story -- this time an American couple from NYC more or less isolated in a villa in the Italian countryside. This couple, played by Aaron Paul and Emily Ratajkowski, are having relationship woes, and in case that isn't clear in the first scene in which they're shown having problems, don't worry, because there will be at least six other scenes making it crystal-clear that they're having problems, as Paul and especially Ratajkowski are in various stages of undress and gratuitous sex flashbacks and skinny dipping. This redundant aspect of the movie quickly grows tiresome and mars what might have been a decent movie.
On the whole, the acting isn't bad. As the creepy bad guy, Scamarcio does a decent job of showing the character's evil side at just the right time. The chemistry between Paul and Ratajkowski is pretty good, even if the writing belabors the strained relationship of their characters. The story itself, when not redundant, is a little too tidy, by the numbers. Cassie, Ratajkowski's character, seems to all of a sudden realize that Federico isn't a good guy after all, and it comes across as convenient to the story as most of the other plot points. What's left is the annoying feeling that a movie that, on paper and considering the talent involved, should've worked, but simply didn't.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about gratuitous sex in movies such as Welcome Home. How were these scenes used to keep the audience entertained during slow parts of the story? Could an argument be made that these scenes actually did have something to do with the story? Why or why not?
How were Italians shown in this movie? Did it seem like stereotyping, or were the bad guys (and women) just a part of the story rather than a broad and inaccurate generalization of an ethnicity?
How does this compare to other thrillers you've seen?
- On DVD or streaming: November 16, 2018
- Cast: Aaron Paul, Emily Ratajkowski, Riccardo Scamarcio
- Director: George Ratliff
- Studio: Vertical Entertainment
- Genre: Thriller
- Run time: 97 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: Sexual content including graphic images, nudity, language and some violence.
- Last updated: February 25, 2023
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