“Welcome to Me” Review – A Very Interesting Film

The film, “Welcome to me”, starring Kristen Wiig, Tim Robbins, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Ann Cusack, opened at The Music Box on Friday, May 8, 2015, as a benefit for Evanston’s Piven Theatre Workshop; the films director, Shira Piven is the daughter of the Workshop’s owners. Incidentally, Barbara Piven has a hilarious cameo role as Kirsten Wiigs crazy- making mother.


The Music Box, at 3733 N. Southport, Chicago, bills itself as “Chicago’s Year- Round Film Festival”. A charming space, with a comfortable rococo bar and lounge, it regularly hosts award winning, foreign and thought provoking films like this one.


The “plot” appears to be simple; in fact it seems at first blush to be a one- gag flick. A youngish woman (played with a singular lack of emotional affect by Wiig) who suffers from borderline personality disorder, wins $85 million in the lottery, and buys her own talk-reality show. The real audience, along with her movie audience, is bored witless, as, week after week, she treats us to her rants, laments and diatribes, culminating with her horrific- but, apparently medically apt- neutering of several dogs. These episodes, however, can actually be seen as a substitute for her weekly therapeutic hour with her psychiatrist, played to perfection by Tim Robbins. Early in our experience of this young lady, she has stopped taking her medication, which we are informed ad nauseum, is Abilify. As she cuts her therapy short, won’t re-Abilify, and invades his home, Robbins reluctantly but steadfastly refuses to treat her any longer. Indeed, he is the only person in her milieu who treats her in a responsible manner.


And that is one of the most thought-provoking points of this film. Yes, it’s true that borderline personalities cannot maintain close and appropriate relationships. Like all personality disorders, her ailment is a lifelong maladaptive mode of functioning in the world. In this instance, indeed, the patient appears to be a blend of narcissistic and hysterical disorders as well, focused almost entirely on herself, breaking down when she doesn’t get her way…and yes, most real-life patients aren’t so easily categorized. But, what about the other people with whom she interacts? In a stinging satire of the popular culture, everybody from her best friend since childhood to, her producers, two of whom ultimately bolt, are content to take what's on offer…her money. While it's true that most lottery winners waste most of their income within one year, the fact that her best friend leaves her for being wrapped up in her self, but, at the end, accepts a check for 7 million dollars to befriend the unfriendable, speaks volumes about the nature of “sharing” in the Kardashian age.


We are invited to believe that simply ingesting a dose or two of Abilify, aripiprazole, manufactured by Otsuka America, a drug widely known as a “mood stabilizer”, but marketed as an atypical anti- psychotic, and used to treat everything from depression and bipolar disorder to irritability in autistic patients, can miraculously cause the morbidly self- absorbed to shed tears of joy at the purchase of her former best friend.


The entire world – oeuvre in which we are enmeshed, watching others display themselves as a construct for reality is under indictment in this very interesting film; the reins are held closely by Piven, who manages to help transform witty intellectual Wiig into a flat dimensionless succubus of the .com age. The show within a show is sometimes boring and certainly annoying, but Piven’s film is a disturbing and valid commentary…perhaps it even offers us a glimpse of the causes of borderline personality disorder.

Photos: Courtesy of Alchemy








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