I have posted this back in January during the Sundance Festival (with The Runaways' Review) but since we are doing promo for 'Welcome to the Rileys' I thought of reposting this review of Mr. Roger Ebert. Sighs, just skip the usual 'Twilight' bashing.
Roger Ebert's Sundance Journal
Welcome to the Rileys:
Welcome to the Rileys was one of the buzz champs of Sundance 2010. The discovery once again is Kristen Stewart, who after this year's festival can be considered completely rehabilitated after the "Twilight" films. The lead is James Gandolfini, as an Indianapolis plumbing contractor who goes to New Orleans on a business trip and meets (quite innocently) a runaway lap dancer who may be 16. At home, his wife (Melissa Leo) hasn't been able to leave the house after their own daughter's death, and Gandolfini decides on the spot to sell his business, stay in New Orleans, and rescue this angry and damaged girl.
That sounds like unlikely melodrama? So it is. But Gandolfini, Stewart and Leo inhabit it with persuasive performances, and director Jake Scott uses French Quarter locations that add another level of atmosphere. Gandolfini does something here he often does, as in John Turturro's "Romance and Cigarettes" (2005): He demonstrates that although he may not be conventionally handsome, when he smiles his face bathes you in the urge to like him. Kristen Stewart here is tougher even than her punk rocker in "The Runaways." Who knew she had these notes? I'm discovering an important new actress.
And also from Moviehole Another repost from January this year- 2010 Sorry, can't find the original link.
But the film belongs to Kristen Stewart, raw, uncompromising, magnificent at every turn, delivering a ferocious and emotionally-charged performance. “Welcome to the Rileys” is a tough, challenging work, one that takes its time in exploring the fragility of human behaviour. It is a haunting, beautiful work with a masterful performance by Stewart at its heart.
The full review after the CUT
We all handle past tragedy in a number of ways. For the Rileys, not communicating is one such answer and a theme of Jake Scott’s beautifully executed “Welcome to the Rileys”.
Years after their teenage daughter’s death, Lois and Doug Riley [James Gandolfini and Melissa Leo], an upstanding Indiana couple, are frozen by the continuation of their grief. She isolates herself in their suburban home, refusing to leave and symbolically, as it were, escape from her own inherent darkness.
Meanwhile Doug, a successful businessman, is cheating on Lois with a local waitress to ease his own pain. On a business trip to New Orleans, Doug imposes himself into the life of an underage hooker and stripper [Kristen Stewart] becoming her platonic guardian for reasons he doesn’t quite understand. Lois however summons all of her remaining force to overcome her agoraphobia and drive to New Orleans to reconnect with the husband she seems to be losing.“Welcome to the Rileys” is a rather exquisite, poignant tale that explores loss in various incarnations and rediscovering what it is that makes us human. Director Jake Scott has crafted a work that is a deft character study, beautifully directed with grace and finesse. This is an often tragic tale told with a lack of sentiment, yet without avoiding its emotional centre. In so doing, he has elicited a trio of fine performances.
Gandolfini is perfectly cast as the conservative father who takes this teenage runaway under his wing, despite an attempt at a Southern accent that seems irrelevant. Melissa Leo is exquisite as the agoraphobic wife who must reconcile a past before facing a future. But the film belongs to Kristen Stewart, raw, uncompromising, magnificent at every turn, delivering a ferocious and emotionally-charged performance.
“Welcome to the Rileys” is a tough, challenging work, one that takes its time in exploring the fragility of human behaviour. It is a haunting, beautiful work with a masterful performance by Stewart at its heart.