Plot: Alice (Kristen Wiig) has borderline personality disorder and has decided to go off her medication, which results in some odd behavior, slavish devotion to a routine, and countless hours watching old episodes of Oprah. But her routine has landed her in an incredible situation, as she buys a single lottery ticket each time and she has just won over eighty million dollars. This prompts her to move to a casino, adopt several dogs, and approach a telemarketing operation about hosting her own show. The staff is hesitant to trust her, given her ever present quirks, but she has the cash to keep the struggling business alive, so she is given her own talk show. The show is her talking about herself, her life, and the people that have made her mad in the past. But while the show has energized her, her mood swings continue to escalate and she is in dire need of some counseling and medication. Will she come around and seek out help out in time, or will she burn her new fortune and all of her old bridges first?
Entertainment Value: I’ve seen a lot of movies that deal with mental illness, but few have captured a more realistic, while also surreal look inside borderline personality disorder like Welcome to Me. The movie is hilarious, tragic, and outlandish all rolled into one, which is the kind of experience someone like Alice might go through, not to mention those around her. To some, Alice’s lack of impulse control or social boundaries might seem implausible, but anyone who has dealt with the illness, first hand or otherwise, will notice a lot of familiar elements. I also appreciated that while Alice is shown as a fun, colorful person at times, she is often also portrayed as a drain on those around her, due in large part to her selfish, self absorbed persona. Alice is a victim in a sense, but the movie still holds her accountable for her actions and that is crucial here, as it keeps the character and the film grounded and balanced. Kristen Wiig brings Alice to life in grand fashion, with a performance that is charismatic enough to make you like Alice, but also dark in all the right places. Tim Robbins, James Marsden, Jennifer Jason Leight, Joan Cusack, Wes Bentley, and Linda Cardellini are on deck as well, so this is an impressive lineup of talent. In the end, Welcome to Me might be too dark or flighty for some, but I found it to be a thoughtful, but still entertaining look inside the life of someone with a severe mental illness. At the same time, it punches up the drama and puts Alice in a perfect storm of triggers and enablers, so it isn’t an intense drama, but more of a darker comedic approach.
Alice takes a naked stroll through a casino at one point, which includes bare breasts and a sizable bush. The movie doesn’t shy away from Alice using sex to self medicate, but the scenes are tame and don’t feature naked flesh. No blood. Alice is erratic, but doesn’t get violent beyond throwing a few things around, though she does operate on one of her dogs on live television. The operation footage shows some mild anatomical inner workings, but is by no means graphic whatsoever. The dialogue here is wild and hilarious, as well as quite dark at times. Alice has most of the outlandish lines, as she has no filter and refuses to reel in her emotions, so she has outbursts often and they’re quite spectacular. This includes disruption, awkward encounters, obsessive behavior, and just random, outrageous moments. The supporting cast also provides some interesting lines, often in response to Alice’s behavioral issues. As for craziness, Alice is a manic, colorful person so she adds a few points, but the movie doesn’t go too far over the top or turn her into a cartoon.
Overall Insanity: 4/10