AM At The Movies: ‘Welcome To Me’

Above: Kristen Wiig plays a mentally unbalanced lottery winner in 'Welcome To Me'
Above: Kristen Wiig plays a mentally unbalanced lottery winner in 'Welcome To Me'

Shira Piven’s Welcome To Me is a character piece that fails to reach its full potential. Frustratingly clunky, the film’s ultimate saving grace is Kristen Wiig’s central performance as Alice Klieg, the lottery winner battling multiple personality disorder.

86 million dollars richer, Wiig’s Oprah-obsessive Kileg buys her own television show at a struggling network, which quickly becomes a public broadcast of her unraveling mental state. The film’s plot is disappointingly clunky and seems stuck in scenic purgatory. We are never really sure if the 100 episode run of her living experiment, the titular ‘Welcome To Me’ talk show, is truly therapeutic or brutally damaging for any of the characters. Klieg’s increasing demands simply aren’t enough to raise the stakes and affect the world around her. The plot is dragging, latching onto more exposition than execution. Relatively early on, it was easy to invest into the film’s show within the picture, ‘Welcome To Me’ more into the actual narrative itself.

Over the last few years, Kristen Wiig has wasted no time veering into the type of dramatic roles comedians work their whole careers vying for. Her obvious talent is what kept her in high demand since coming off of her seven year stint on Saturday Night Live. For fans, It really shouldn’t come as any surprise that Wiig is more than capable of making Klieg a multi-dimensional and heartbreakingly relatable character. The character depth ends there however. James Marsden, Linda Cardellini, Joan Cusack, and Tim Robbins are seasoned actors, but the writing makes interactions fairly one-note. When Cardellini’s Gina finally breaks her endless stream of support, it is offputting in its plot-driven laziness. All too frequently, we know what’s around the corner in Welcome To Me. We expect things to happen, and then a shorter and more boring version of that expectation is given to us.

Wiig’s grace is reason alone to sit with this film, but unfortunately for her performance, we can’t enjoy Welcome To Me in its entirety.

Aidan D'Aoust

Aidan is a writer from Toronto. His favourite things in the world are music, movies, and mini dachshunds. Give him a follow on Twitter at @aidandaoust, where he’ll also accept your mixtape submissions.

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