Welcome To The Rileys
Doug Riley (James Gandolfini) has been having an affair with a waitress. Lois Riley (Melissa Leo) has struggled for years and is hiding a devastating sense of guilt over her daughter's death. Doug heads to New Orleans on a business trip where he meets Mallory (Kristen Stewart), a 15-year-old stripper. He takes on the role of surrogate Father and feels he may be able to obtain redemption for helping her fix her life. These three very broken people somehow manage to fix each other.
Firstly, Kristen Stewart is stand out in this film. It was the first film I'd seen her in where she was given a role that completely transformed her and sees her wholly at ease.
Also stand out is Melissa Leo as she has been a knock out in every role she's been in, either minor or major. And, this film is no exception.
Gandolfini's acting reputation doesn't need to be even mentioned.
Lois hasn't left the house since their daughter died ten years before but she is shaken up when Doug phones to say he won't be coming home.
James' mistress Vivien dies and James is unable to cope. When he meets Mallory at a strip club he explains he will pay her $100 a night to stay at her flat. Mallory isn't used to money for nothing but takes the money and the two settle into an odd domesticity.
Gandolfini plays his part with heartfelt warmth and not a hint of sleaze. He is there as her Father, albeit a substitute, and not a paying customer. The sub text is that he is saving his daughter.
Meanwhile Lois is driving, very very slowly, to New Orleans to save her marriage. When she arrives she is horrified that her husband is living with a foul-mouthed under-aged stripper. But eventually she tries to take on the role of Mother to Mallory. This doesn't go down very well with Mallory and she says she is too old for that.
But before long Lois has moved in and the three become a very unconventional family unit.
Mallory is hospitalised by a violent customer and James pays the bill. He also asks that she get back in touch with her real family and start her life again.
Mallory disappears and James and Lois go home. A few months later they get a phone call from Mallory who is back with her family and working part time. She did what James asked and sorted her life out. Somehow this news heals everything even James and Lois' marriage.
It's an indepth look at people whose lives have been shattered and how they go about mending themselves. The first factor would have to be kindness and James' kindness to both Lois and Mallory is a healing in itself.