“Welcome to Me” Hits the Lottery

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Kristen Wiig is brilliant in this film as lottery winner Alice Klieg, a character with borderline personality disorder.

If I think I’m a winner… I will win $86 million?

Ah… if only winning the lottery happened according to the life of Alice Klieg.

Logline:  When Alice Klieg wins the Mega-Millions Lottery, she immediately quits her psychiatric meds and buys her own talk show.

I’ve been waiting to see this film on Netflix for a while.  I heard about the film when it was being marketed briefly and then it seemed to disappear.  But I loved the premise.  It must have been a small budget because it didn’t have much of a theatrical release.

Despite it being on the small screen in my living room, the payoff was huge when she wrote the first check for $15 million.

Wouldn’t you love to be able to write a check for $15 million… on a whim?

Recording her own theme song?  Both brilliant and ridiculous at the time.

From “Broadcast News” to “Welcome to Me,” Joan Cusack’s reactions are absolutely authentic. She’s as uncomfortable as the audience at times.  It’s a soap opera in the making.

Despite all of her money, Tim Robbins as her therapist sucks her back into treatment but not into medication.  Welcome to Hollywood where everyone feels they need to include a therapist in the storyline. She didn’t need a therapist, she needed a true community of friends to listen and love her.  She may have bought that community in the form of a TV crew, but who cares?  That’s what she needs.  Her therapy is having her own television show and people who finally take an interest in her existence.

The pacing and building of the story reminded me a lot of “Tootsie.”  As her audience unexpectedly grows, the TV show is building toward its climax.  Alice’s relationship with her boyfriend Gabe (Wes Bentley) is building toward its climax.  And you can sense where this is headed.  But how is it going to end?  Is she going to run out of money?

No spoilers here.  I will tell you this.  It had me in tears.  Meaningful tears.

So many people in the world are searching for something more fulfilling.  With computers and the Internet isolating people from personal face-to-face interaction, the world is becoming more self-centered. Everyone’s world revolves around themselves.  Alice’s world is about Alice.  When her friend loses her job, Alice’s world is still about Alice.  And every other character’s world is also about themselves. Everyone is consumed with themselves.  This is our world.  “Welcome to Me” is a reflection of our world.

While it’s not a laugh out loud movie, Wiig plays toward her character’s strengths.  As a result, she finds her likability and the audience roots for her success despite her eccentricities.  We’re all a little eccentric in our own way.  And more people are being diagnosed with different levels of mental illness every day.

Bottom line:  Accept each other.  Be kind.  And be willing to change.

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