A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this indie drama stars Twilight's Kristen Stewart as a teenage stripper -- not exactly an ideal role model for her younger fans. Just as well, then, that not too many of them are likely to be drawn to this mature, often wrenching story about how a couple copes after the death of their daughter. Their marriage is in disarray, their hearts broken; at times, it’s very difficult to watch. Expect plenty of swearing (including "f--k," "s--t," and more) and some graphic discussions about sex, as well as a few scenes that include smoking, drinking, and drug use (some by a teen).
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What's the story?
Years after losing their 15-year-old daughter, Emily, in a car accident, Doug and Lois Riley (James Gandolfini and Melissa Leo) are still gutted. Their marriage is in shambles; Doug’s having an affair, and Lois can’t leave the house. Emily’s room is still intact. Their shaky foundation is further rattled after Doug meets Mallory/Allison (Kristen Stewart), a stripper, while attending a conference in New Orleans. He decides to stay: He might not be able to save his marriage, but he might be able to fish Mallory out of her own miserable life. Meanwhile, Lois must decide whether she can leave her broken heart behind and reclaim her husband.
Is it any good?
WELCOME TO THE RILEYS moves slowly, but it packs a mighty punch. It paints a picture of grief without sentimentality, an accomplishment that relies not on gimmicks but on strong performances from all three leads, especially Gandolfini, and a script unafraid of being unexpected. The drama does take its time to unwind -- sometimes, perhaps too long. But the pace is somewhat evocative of the situation itself, of grief that isn’t raw like it would be in the immediate aftermath of a loss but one that has calcified over time -- hiding, not healing, a cache of pain underneath.
There will be moments of skepticism: Why Doug is initially moved to take action and help Mallory/Allison requires some suspension of disbelief. Lois' reaction to everything is unusual, too, and a little unexplored. But perhaps that's the beauty of WELCOME TO THE RILEYS: It's unafraid to be make its point quietly and obliquely. There's no pandering here.
Talk to your kids about ...
- In theaters: October 29, 2010
- On DVD or streaming: February 1, 2011
- Cast: James Gandolfini, Kristen Stewart, Melissa Leo
- Director: Jake Scott
- Studio: Samuel Goldwyn Company
- Genre: Drama
- Run time: 110 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: strong sexual content, brief drug use and pervasive language involving a teenager
For kids who love dramas
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