Welcome to Me

Movie review by
S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media
Welcome to Me Movie Poster Image
Irreverent but somewhat disturbing take on mental illness.
  • R
  • 2015
  • 88 minutes

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Kids say

age 16+
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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Just because someone is suffering from mental illness doesn't mean they don't have hopes and dreams that can and should be addressed. That said, many of the laughs come at the expense of someone whose illness is left untreated and runs amok.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Though Alice suffers from mental illness and refuses to be medicated (and makes very iffy choices as a result), she has a fighting spirit that desperately wants to be happy. Her best friend, Gina, is kind and giving.

Violence

In fits of rage and frustration, Alice throws things, screams at people, and breaks things. Two brothers get into a fist fight and go after each other, physically and verbally.

Sex

A woman and a man have sex; no sensitive body parts are shown. A woman appears to be giving a man oral sex (no private parts shown). A woman strips naked and walks through a casino, fully naked (pubic hair and breasts shown).

Language

Frequent use of everything from "damn" and "s--t" to "f--k" and "c--t."

Consumerism

Products/brands mentioned or seen include Apple, O Magazine, Abilify, Dodge, Sony, Toyota, and more.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Adults are seen drinking and smoking pot. Prescription medicine (and Alice's refusal to take it) plays a role.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that although Welcome to Me stars Kristen Wiig and has funny scenes/moments, it deals with serious subjects and is ultimately a somewhat disturbing dramedy about what untreated mental illness really looks like. In one scene, a woman parades stark naked (breasts, pubic area visible) through a Las Vegas casino. Other scenes show her having sex and administering oral sex (no sensitive body parts on view, though it's clear what she's doing). There's also plenty of swearing, including "f--k" and "c--t," some angry outbursts and fights, and scenes in which adult characters drink and smoke weed.

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What's the story?

Alice Klieg (Kristen Wiig) suffers from borderline personality disorder. After she wins $86 million in the lottery, Alice decides to go off her meds, which sends her world spinning into chaos. The windfall gives her a certain kind of freedom, which is why she opts to let her mental illness go unchecked and spends the money to fund her wildest notions. A fan of Oprah, Alice decides to use her winnings toward creating her own TV talk show. So begins a strange adventure that has Alice's therapist (Tim Robbins) worried, her best friend (Linda Cardellini) alarmed, a producer (James Marsden) salivating at the opportunity, and his brother (Wes Bentley) infatuated.

Is it any good?

WELCOME TO ME is irreverent, funny, and moving, and Wiig carries off a complicated role with aplomb and confidence. But you'll pay for all of that with a sense of discomfort that will lodge itself into your conscience midway through the film and clamor for recognition by the end. There's no denying the film's unusual plot and refreshing script, but it's hard to shake the fact that the laughs sometimes come at the expense of a very ill character, one who's given free reign to destroy and yet gets an ending that glosses over the consequences of her actions and attempts to wrap it all up in a neat bow. Alice Klieg deserves a more nuanced, complex resolution to her story.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how Welcome to Me portrays mental illness. The plot is somewhat absurdist and relies on uncomfortable laughs; does that hamper or advance issues related to the realities of mental illness? What other movies/TV shows have you seen that address the topic?

  • Why do you think Alice decides to stop taking her medication? How do her friends help or hurt her, despite their best intentions? Is Alice responsible for her actions when she's unmedicated?

  • What do you think the movie's message is intended to be? Who is it meant to appeal to? How can you tell?

Movie details

Themes & Topics

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