Welcome to the Dollhouse (1995)
June 6, 2022 7:27 PM - Subscribe

Awkward seventh-grader Dawn Weiner (Heather Matarazzo) struggles to cope with inattentive parents, snobbish class-mates, a smart older brother, an attractive younger sister and her own insecurities in suburban New Jersey. The debut feature from writer/director Todd Solondz.

90% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes. Currently streaming in the US on HBO Max and for digital rental on Vudu.
posted by DirtyOldTown (8 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
This is an amazing film, one of my favourites. I feel everything Dawn's feeling. It ripped my heart out the first time I saw it.
posted by essexjan at 1:40 AM on June 7 [6 favorites]


This is really the perfect example of a film about the kind of pitiless, awful reality of being a tween that you cannot actually see for what it is until you are at least twenty years old.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 6:47 AM on June 7 [2 favorites]


Fun fact: Heather Matarazzo has said on numerous occasions what a jolt it was for her to be on this movie as an 11 year-old, go through the scenes where her character is called "lesbo," have it explained to her what that meant, and then realize, "Oh wow, there's a name for this? That's totally what I am."
posted by DirtyOldTown at 6:51 AM on June 7 [10 favorites]


For those of us who grew up in a certain region of New Jersey during a certain era, Todd Solondz's films are basically documentary. I've noticed that many friends who have since escaped New Jersey love them, and the ones who haven't just find them really, really depressing.
posted by phooky at 8:32 AM on June 7 [3 favorites]


I remember seeing a young Todd Solondz interviewed on Charlie Rose a long time ago, and thinking, "Oh my God, he is Dawn Wiener. Like, she looks and acts exactly like a tween girl version of him!" Seeing her as his avatar makes the film even more weird and cringe-y, like he was exorcising some personal demons by putting this poor, awful girl through all that misery.

Solondz has taken Dawn in some strange directions since this film, killing her offscreen in one movie and then bringing her back unharmed (but played by Greta Gerwig) in another. Heather Matarazzo has been quite vocal about her struggles making a living as an actor, so seeing her most famous character handled like that has got be kind of maddening. Since that article Matarazzo has apparently come down with a really bad case of covid. The woman's having a tough year.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 3:27 PM on June 7


I grew up with Matthew Faber and, let me tell you, it’s WEIRD to see a childhood friend on the big screen. He did such a good job in this movie. Dead at 47 in 2020. RIP.
posted by cheapskatebay at 5:00 PM on June 7 [2 favorites]


I felt that this movie actually had a heart, and that it was the last Solondz film you could say that about. I liked it very much.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 9:06 PM on June 7


I need to rewatch this.
posted by iamkimiam at 12:06 AM on June 8


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