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Welcome to the Dollhouse

Comedy movie directed by Todd Solondz

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A bit depressing to be a fun Dollhouse

  • Jan 9, 2008
Todd Solondz does it again and for a reason. We're introduce to Dawn Wiener (Heather Matarazzo), an awkward seventh grader who is put down by her peers because of her physical appearance. The taunting Dawn endures is extreme and does not come across as even slightly reminiscent of anything that happened in my high school, but this fact does not take away from the empathy we feel for her as she struggles through her daily life. As if school weren't bad enough, Dawn's home life doesn't leave much to be desired. Her older brother Mark (Matthew Faber), is the "king of the geeks". Her parents offer no support either. Dawn's other sibling, Missy (Daria Kalinina), is the darling of the family who can do no wrong. She simply flits around the house in her pink tu-tu and makes Dawn's life look hellish by comparison.

Dawn's life is further complicated by Brandon McCarthy (Brendan Sexton Jr.), the misunderstood juvenile who has taken a liking to her. At the beginning of their "relationship" he tells her he will rape her. This does not happen because of various circumstances, but Dawn ends up falling for this tough guy and eventually losing him when he runs away. Throughout the movie, it appears as if everyone in her life pours their derision upon anything she does, exposing all her weaknesses however carefully they might be hidden. Dawn, in turn, passes this on to the few people that she gets close to.

This was not a realistic depiction of the hells of junior high school. For one thing, girls would pick on other girls, but in no way, whatsoever, would any of them force another to sit on the crapper in front of another as a forms of bullying. These are 11-12 year olds? Uh uh. Maybe 4 years older that would happen, but no one at that age would succumb to a type of humiliation that gross and tasteless.

Our lead character is played brilliantly, and shows her determination in the face of endless adversity - in fact, the acting all around is excellent. But the movie denies the moments of redemption. Such a strong young warrior as Dawn would certainly have had some triumphs to share. While the movie is slow at times, it does pull on your heart string, and is definitely worth watching.

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More Welcome to the Dollhouse reviews
review by . September 25, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
**** out of ****    Todd Solondz's "Welcome to the Dollhouse" recalls the sad, desolate, lonely days of adolescence; particularly within the Middle School days of our lives, also known as Junior High. I know that those days, as well as the High School days, seemed painful and long. They must have been the same for Solondz, as he seems to have made the film out of personal disgust for the lowest members of youthful humanity; he appears to be gnashing his teeth, although through …
review by . July 19, 2010
My days at school were not as cruel as Dawns. “Welcome to the Doll House” is a dark comedy by the genius Todd Solondz.  I personally find him to be one of the great directors of our time. The reason why I love this film so much is because of the dark comedy. “Welcome to the Doll House” is a film that brutally pins the main character against everyone. Poor Dawn has really become the punch line of this whole film. There are moments where you just feel bad for her, but …
review by . June 18, 2009
The Exorcist?  Alien?  Signs?  Those movies can wet themselves at this film which is a true real life horror movie with a very identifiable monster we all have faced.  That monster is middle school.      The film centers on an unpopular middle child named Dawn Wiener who gets the not so affectionate nickname "Wiener Dog" by her peers.  Her older brother is in highschool and has his own garage band and her little sister is a cutesy putesy ballerina …
review by . September 01, 2008
posted in Movie Hype
Pros: Heather Matarazzo, script, directing     Cons: none obvious     The Bottom Line: “Come into my dollhouse  Fill my empty heart  Without you I'm a catatonic fool  Sitting in the dark” ~ Jill Wisoff     I can’t imagine anything as miserable as 7th grade. Especially if you are less than attractive, your family is filled with unfeeling parents, a nerdy brother, and ‘the perfect daughter’. …
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Todd Solondz's WELCOME TO THE DOLLHOUSE follows the painful daily trials of Dawn "Wienerdog" Wiener (Heather Matarazzo), an awkward, nerdy 12-year-old. The middle child between her geeky older brother, Mark (Matthew Faber), and her sickeningly sweet little sister, Missy (Daria Kalinina), Dawn has a rough time with her family and everything else, including school and boys. She's obsessed with Mark's hunky bandmate, Steve (Eric Mabius), but the only guy who pays her any attention is the local thug, Brandon (Brendan Sexton III), who constantly threatens her with rape. <br> <br> With startling accuracy and humor, Solondz captures the hell known as junior high in his blow-by-blow account of Dawn's difficult life. One of the darkest and funniest tales of adolescence ever filmed, DOLLHOUSE serves as a grateful reminder that puberty strikes only once.
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Director: Todd Solondz
Genre: Comedy
Release Date: May 24, 1996
MPAA Rating: R
Screen Writer: Todd Solondz
DVD Release Date: March 08, 1999
Runtime: 1hr 27min
Studio: Sony Pictures
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