It’s not a policy that Relate would subscribe to – allow your husband of thirty years to move into a house with a 16-year-old stripper-come-hooker.
Yet James Gandolfini’s Doug – a blue collar saint rather than an opportunist sinner - does just that when he discovers teenage Mallory (Stewart) is teetering on the edge of tragedy in New Orleans’ red light district.
Shell-shocked by the death of his waitress mistress, he's down south on a business trip when he meets Mallory at a strip club and pays her to spend (platonic) time with him.
Since the death of his 15-year-old daughter, Doug’s completely blanked the tragedy out while wife Lois (Leo) has descended into a pill-assisted comfort zone.
After Doug decamps to The Big Easy and begins his elected task of looking after the fallen teen, Lois – who is still in love with him but can’t connect – shakes off her medicinal shackles and drives south.
Doug’s new scenario is not what she is expecting but – after a couple of false starts – begins to empathise with the raddled creature who could have been her daughter.
It’s not easy – this is a potty-mouthed Lolita who routinely turns tricks in ropey motels when most girls of her age have just about worked out how to change the batteries in a Nintendo DS.
Movingly written and exquisitely played by the three leads, this never gets bogged down in sentiment or lazily opts for easy answers.
How do you solve a problem like Mallory? Well, you don’t really…but just the presence of a couple who care lightens the load.