Barely released to theaters in fall of 2010, Welcome to the Rileys may get a bit more attention now that it's available on Blu-ray. It's the kind of "small" movie that actually plays far better at home in a more intimate environment than a big screen auditorium.
The movie is centered around three characters, all emotionally scarred on a deep level. James Gandolfini (The Sopranos) and Melissa Leo (2010 Oscar nominee for The Fighter) play Doug and Lois Riley. The couple has been married for thirty years, but they haven't been connecting at all since the loss of their teenage daughter several years ago. Melissa has become a complete shut-in, afraid to even get the morning paper from the driveway. As a result Doug has sought intimacy outside of the marriage.
Doug's life changes dramatically when he encounters an underage stripper while in New Orleans on a business trip. He sees an opportunity to help out someone around the age of his late daughter, potentially filling a painful gap in his life. The stripper, who goes by Mallory and supplements her income with prostitution, is played very effectively by Kristen Stewart (Twilight). Without being overbearing, Doug tries to be a positive influence on Mallory's life. Mallory doesn't always know how to react to such kindness, so their relationship is often on rocky ground.
To reveal more would actually do a disservice to someone viewing the film for the first time. Suffice it to say this is a slice of life drama that finds damaged people slowly piecing their lives back together. It isn't a whole lot of fun, but it isn't nearly as heavy in atmosphere as it might sound. There are many moments of warm humor even though the main characters are profoundly unhappy with their lives. All three of the principle actors really inhabit their roles and make them seem three dimensional. The end result is a thoughtful movie that benefits from the collective emotional impact of many subtlely touching moments.