Welcome to the Rileys

Movie review by
S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media
Welcome to the Rileys Movie Poster Image
A couple finds a way out of mourning in wrenching drama.
  • R
  • 2010
  • 110 minutes
Parents recommend

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 5 reviews

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 7 reviews

A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

The movie sends the message that grief can make people do unexpected things; in this case, Doug decides to sell his successful business and abandons his wife to help out a teenage prostitute who reminds him of his dead daughter. His choices don’t always make sense, but they seem to make him feel better, at least at first.

Positive Role Models & Representations

A philanderer is a complex character -- he has a heart of gold, but he betrays his wife ... but it's because he’s in a lot of pain from the death of their child. He later takes on the role of surrogate father to a teenage prostitute, trying to guide her back to a more conventional lifestyle, though doing so significantly disrupts his marriage.

Violence

A woman runs over a garbage can and hits a pole in her own driveway. A prostitute talks about a violent encounter but is dissuaded from seeking revenge.

Sex

A man has an affair; he and his lover are shown in the shadows snuggling under covers. A stripper/prostitute offers to perform certain acts for a client in the VIP room of her club; she's shown straddling him, but he declines to engage in anything else. She also discusses working in a peep show, what customers do there, and what sexual acts she will and won’t do. A woman’s bare behind is shown.

Language

“Bulls--t,” “s--t,” “p---y,” “f--k nuts,” “cooters” -- the language runs the entire gamut. A teenager swears a lot; another character points this out and even fines her for it.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

A man lights up a cigarette in the film’s first frame, and he smokes and drinks often throughout the rest of the movie. Men smoke during a poker game. A teenager smokes weed and offers an older man a hit.

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).

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

Teen, 14 years old Written byConwolf March 16, 2012

There is something of a Role Model in Doug.

I first saw this when I was fourteen. I had no idea what I was getting myself into because I just said 'Ooo! KStew! Must watch!' Soon after starting i... Continue reading
Teen, 17 years old Written bydoublea123 May 20, 2011

Welcome to the Rileys

Welcome to the Rileys was an emotional roller coaster. This movie is an astonishing heart wrenching drama with an all-star cast. This movie has a TON of sexual... Continue reading

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 ...

  • Families can talk about the movie's messages. What is it saying about grief? About relationships? Do the characters and situations seem relatable?

  • How does the movie portray teen sexuality?

  • What consequences does substance use (drinking, drugs, smoking) have in the movie?

Movie details

For kids who love dramas

Our editors recommend

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