I really liked this movie, even though I’m still not sure if it was more funny or sad. It was unique, and I appreciated that.
The premise — Alice, a woman with borderline personality disorder who’s living on disability benefits, wins the lottery and decides to make a public access show about herself is intriguing, and it’s well done here.
Kristen Wiig is fantastic, as expected. This role gives her a lot to do, and she’s great, making Alice into someone who’s fragile while still knowing what she wants and knowing how to get her way.
The rest of the cast is solid too, but it’s all Wiig’s show, literally. The show-within-the-movie, “Welcome to Me” is a trip. We see bits and pieces of it, as well as behind the scenes. It’s full of oversharing, and super weird, but Alice doesn’t really realize how weird it is. It’s kind of magical, but also terrible.
There’s something nostalgic about the premise. Alice wants to be Oprah, but no one’s Oprah anymore. Alice has old episodes of Oprah’s talk show recorded on VHS tapes, and the whole idea of a talk show that speaks to the whole nation seems to be going the way of the VCR. I remember when I was younger, I’d get home from school, and watch Oprah’s show with my mother, a disciple who subscribed to O and was inspired by the diets and lifestyle. It feels like since Oprah went off the air no one has taken her place? (Ellen is something different.) Not that there is an absence, but that there is no longer a need for a single central figure because there are so many other voices.
Welcome To Me does acknowledge this new world at the very end, when Alice loses her show, but continues on making her own videos. While Alice has a very strange and specific story, it says something about the time we’re living in. A lot of us grew up watching Oprah, wanting to be Oprah, wanting to have that kind of influence and audience, which is unobtainable. But now there’s a whole new way to be a star, the world of youtube and micro celebrities. It isn’t really the same, it’s on such a different scale, but it’s still something.
It’s a fascinating little movie with a lot to pick a part. It’s very uncertain, and in some ways that hurts it, but that also means it’s very open. It doesn’t give a lot of answers, and it never passes judgment, which is important. Alice’s show isn’t good, but it’s her show, and her creativity and views are never invalidated.