: : : Welcome to the Dollhouse

Story

What is junior high school but a strange, disorienting pastiche of black comedy, tragedy, soap opera, and (most of all) horror movie? Well, that pretty much describes Todd Solondz's astonishingly honest and clear-sighted film, Welcome to the Dollhouse. Like Solondz's even more controversial follow-up--the acclaimed and despised Happiness (1998)--Dollhouse unflinchingly looks deep into its characters' souls (and their embarrassing desires, and their floundering sexuality) in ways that can be simultaneously disturbing and liberating, appalling and hilarious. Dawn Wiener (Heather Matarazzo) is a hapless seventh-grade geek whose cruel and contemptuous schoolmates have nicknamed her (what else?) "Wiener Dog." Everything about Dawn is so awkward--the way she looks, talks, moves--that it's no wonder other kids dump on her. They're most likely so insecure about themselves that they're terrified of the Wiener Dog they know lurks somewhere down inside themselves, too. So, the best social and psychological survival tactic is to distance themselves from Dawn by relentlessly reminding her of her "place" at the bottom of the junior-high pecking order. Solondz's vision is hardly sentimental, and you wouldn't even call it "compassionate," but it is a moral vision: authentic, undiluted, and, in the end, understanding. --Jim Emerson

DVD Features

  • Color
  • Closed-captioned
  • Widescreen

Cast

Heather MatarazzoDawn Wiener
Christina BrucatoCookie
Christina VidalCynthia
Brendan Sexton IIIBrandon McCarthy
Matthew FaberMark Wiener
Josiah TragerKenny
Ken LeungBarry
Bill BuellMr. Wiener
Eric MabiusSteve Rodgers
Stacey MoseleyMary Ellen Moriarty
Will LymanMr. Edwards

  • Genre: Comedy Movies
  • Director: Todd Solondz
  • Producer: Columbia/Tri-Star
  • Length: 88 min
  • Aspect ratio: 1.85:1
  • Theatrical Release
    North AmericaMay 24, 1996
  • Ratings
    North AmericaR
    Europe15
    AustraliaM
  • DVD Release
    North AmericaAug 3, 1999
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