Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Welcome to the Dollhouse

Welcome to the Dollhouse; Black tragicomedy, USA, 1995; D: Todd Solondz, S: Heather Matarazzo, Matthew Faber, Daria Kalinina, Victoria Davis, Christina Brucato

Dawn (11) rightfully considers that elementary school and her childhood are real hell. No girl wants to be her friend, the boys throw paper rolls at her while older girls, cheerleaders, mock her and degrade her by calling her a "lesbo". At her home, the parents ignore her because they prefer her sister Missy and brother Mike. Mike is a guitar player in an amateur band whose player is Steve, a high school guy she falls in love with. He has sympathies towards her, but still prefers girls his age. Brandon, a rough kid from Dawn's class, develops an unusual relationship towards her, but leaves town because he is charged for possessing drugs. Missy gets kidnapped so Dawn looks for her in New York. When the police finds Missy, everything gets back to normal.

By making drama "Welcome to the Dollhouse" pessimistic author Todd Solondz created a quality film of an honest topic that twists the cliche that childhood is the best part of life by showing how it can be real hell. Typically for him are sad-ironic scenes that describe the "alien" 11-year old heroine Dawn (fantastic Heather Matarazzo) and her deprivation of self-esteem: in school, every locker is clean except for hers that's full of written insults. She is mocked and harassed by everyone to such a degree - for instance, her family enjoys watching her "hilarious" home video where her sister Missy roughly pushes her into the water, so Dawn sneaks out at night and destroys the tape with a hammer - that it's sufficient for her to hear 10 seconds of sweet words from the high school lad Steve to completely fall in love with him. With touching sympathy for his outsider heroine and painfully true details of a wasted youth, Solondz crafts a misanthropic world without salvation: after it, the boredom of events when nothing happens even seems like a nice option.


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