Review: For ‘Them That Follow’ it’s devotion until death

Deep religious beliefs permeate an extremely small and isolated Appalachian community.  Pastor’s daughter Mara is trapped between her feelings and the expectations put upon her by her father and his followers. She is secretly pregnant. She is rightfully petrified to be found out. Blind faith and reality might just split her in two.

Olivia Colman is completely unexpected as a matron in this community. Her American accent is frighteningly good. She is nothing like you expect her character to be. She ever so slightly and quietly teeters on the brink of questioning what’s right. Jim Gaffigan plays her husband Zeke. You almost wouldn’t know he was there. He is vastly underutilized. What he does get to emote is strong. Walton Goggins as Pastor Lemuel makes your skin crawl with his piercing stare. Alice Englert as Mara is vulnerable and raw. She owns each scene she’s in and goes toe to toe with the presence of Colman and Goggins.

The film has such an ominous sense that it keeps you engrossed and totally uncomfortable as you watch.The film is shot in darkness, whether at night or overcast skies, costumes and sets are all in winter and fall browns and jewel tones. This is a story of not only religious zealots it is also quietly about the sexual awakening of a repressed young woman. Misogyny and passion clash and a sheer impending terror has a palpable effect on the audience. Something wicked this way comes.

Liz’s Review: ‘WELCOME TO ME’ takes on mental illness with heart and humor.

welcome to  me poster
Mental illness is a touchy subject. Certainly putting a pretty face to it makes us more comfortable to talk about it. Films like Gabriel and Silver Linings Playbook have since tackled these issues, on two very opposite ends of the spectrum. A new film starring Kristen Wiig, Welcome to Me, looks at both sides of  something that can be hard to discuss. The story revolves around a young woman with borderline personality disorder who wins 86 million dollars in the lottery. Obsessed with being the next Oprah, Alice approaches a local TV station and pays a great sum of money for them create a talk show just for her, about her, and only, her. Believing that her new found wealth can solve anything in her recently unmedicated surroundings, Alice’s behavior spins out of control as she becomes an internet sensation. The show becomes an inappropriate arena for her to air all the emotional hurt in her head. The station is owned by two very different brothers, Rich and Gabe. The first is desperate for the checks to keep rolling in from Alice, while the other, has his own issues and a thing for his new host. Can Alice pull her life together in time to save any of the relationships in her life?

Welcome to Me Wes Bentley and James MarsdenThis film is filled with a crazy talented cast. James Marsden plays the smarmier of the two brothers, while Wes Bentley is the odder, more lovable one. Marsden is a real dick, while Bentley is sensitive and interesting. The two are totally believable as siblings. Alan Tudyk, who I can never get enough of, is Alice’s gay ex-husband and charming and adorable as always. Joan Cusak, funny lady extraordinaire, plays Welcome To Me’s director so  think Gelman à la Live with Kelly and Michael. Her sincerity is what makes her so effortlessly hilarious. Jennifer Jason Leigh is the more realistic producer who spends most of her time face palming and attempting to interject reason to this insane scenario. Linda Cardellini is Gina, Alice’s best friend since middle school. Cardellini is loving, quiet, and the ultimate caretaker. Tim Robbins plays Alice’s therapist. He puts his foot down when it comes to Alice pushing boundaries, and I would hire him as my real life Dr. in a heartbeat… is that weird?Welcome to me, Alan Tudyk, Linda CardeliniBut let’s get to our leading lady, Kristen Wiig. Famous for her SNL characters like “The Target Lady”, “Penelope”, “Judy Grimes” (Just Kidding Lady), “Babe” (One-of-Two A-Holes), and “Junice Merill” (Slightly-Off Laurwence Welk Performer) but since her departure we’ve seen her take on some truly challenging indie roles. She was a delight in Hateship Loveship, The Diary of a Teenage Girl, and The Skeleton Twins. She, of course, has impeccable comic timing, but is exceptionally gifted in the dramatic. Also, on aside note, she is a pretty woman, no doubt, but there is something altogether gorgeous about her in Welcome To Me. The character of Alice Klieg is incredibly damaged, but if I’m being honest, she is just acting in the ways we all wish we could if they were socially acceptable. This is yet another performance in a long line of impressive ones for Kristen. For the love of all that is holy, go see her in this!Welcome to Me Kristen Wiig

Synopsis: A woman with borderline personality disorder (Kristen Wiig) wins the Mega-
Millions and—much to the dismay of her parents, therapist, gay ex-husband and local TV station—uses the winnings to fund her lifelong dream of becoming the next Oprah.

Starring:

Kristen Wiig, Wes Bentley, Linda Cardellini, Joan Cusak, Loretta Devine, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Thomas Mann, James Marsden, Tim Robbins, Alan Tudyk

Written by Eliot Laurence

Directed by Shira Piven

WELCOME TO ME comes to theaters May 1st.