A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
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
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 & Scariness
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.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
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.
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"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.
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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.
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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). To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
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.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.