Welcome to the Rileys (2010) Directed by Jake Scott. With James Gandolfini, Kristen Stewart, Melissa Leo and Ally Sheedy.
The pairing together of two actors from very different walks of life, (there’s no way Tony Soprano and Bella Swan could inhabit the same world) works wonders for this interesting drama about a bereaved man. Doug is struggling to come to terms with the loss of his teenage daughter, when he meets a young prostitute named Allison (Stewart) with whom he strikes up a relationship.
Beautifully shot by Jake Scott, Welcome to the Rileys is fascinating, if not only for the on-screen coupling of Gandolfini and Stewart, whose friendship, however unlikely, is made believable by two fine performances. Outside of Doug and Allison’s relationship is Doug’s wife Lois (Melissa Leo), whose self-imposed exile since the death of her daughter has caused a rift in their thirty-year marriage. What’s clear is that Doug and Lois love each other very much, but their personal tragedy has become all consuming and has served to mute their affections.
Don’t be fooled, though, as ultimately, this is a film that carries a strong message of hope, but without ever resorting to over emphasising or over indulging itself. All involved deserve credit, and although it may not have been seen by the same hoards of devotees that have queued to see Stewart in the Twilight series, it should silence any doubters who’ve foolishly pondered that all she can do is frown and look angsty. A well-intentioned, cleverly cast film that strikes a positive note showcasing the better side of human nature without ever beating that drum too hard. 4/5