EIFF 2015: Welcome to Me

Film Review by Josh Slater-Williams | 22 Jun 2015
Film title: Welcome to Me
Director: Shira Piven
Starring: Kristen Wiig, Wes Bentley, James Marsden, Linda Cardellini, Joan Cusack, Tim Robbins, Alan Tudyk, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Loretta Devine, Thomas Mann

Based on premise alone, Welcome to Me could have gone horribly wrong all too easily, but director Shira Piven’s barbed satire successfully walks a fine line between mockery and sincerity.

A magnificent Kristen Wiig is Alice, a woman with borderline personality disorder who’s self-medicating rather than listening to her therapist’s pleas. Her prescription includes obsessing over VHS recordings of Oprah, and, when she wins $86 million in a lottery, this fuels her ambition to buy time on a local TV network and start her own daytime chat show.

Alice’s investment is a large-scale vanity project, a shrine to her tortured past and bitter grudges complete with hired actors re-enacting her past embarrassments. The broadcasted narcissistic bubble eventually becomes a viral sensation. There’s shades of Network, The King of Comedy and the endurance art of Tom Green (in one episode Alice silently eats a cake for five minutes), and the film, though messy when it comes to a sentimental climax, is a strong send-up of self-actualisation and exhibitionism culture.

More from EIFF 2015:

Our film editor's top ten picks from this year's Festival

All our latest reviews from EIFF 2015

Welcome to Me has its UK premiere at this year's Edinburgh International Film Festival

21 Jun, 5.50pm, Filmhouse

23 Jun, 8.45pm, Cineworld http://www.edfilmfest.org.uk/films/2015/welcome-to-me