Palindromes (2004) - Rotten Tomatoes

Palindromes (2004)



Critic Consensus: Unique but cold.

Movie Info

Thirteen-year-old Aviva Victor wants to be a 'mom'. She does all she can to make this happen and comes very close to succeeding, but in the end her sensible parents thwart her plan. So she runs away, still determined to get pregnant one way or another, but instead finds herself lost in another world, a less sensible one, perhaps, but one pregnant itself with all sorts of strange possibility. She takes a road trip from the suburbs of New Jersey, through Ohio to the plains of Kansas and back. Like so many trips, this one is round-trip, and it's hard to say in the end if she can ever be quite the same again, or if she can ever be anything but the same again.more
Rating: Unrated (not rated)
Genre: Drama, Comedy, Special Interest
Directed By:
Written By: Todd Solondz
In Theaters:
On DVD: Sep 13, 2005
Box Office: $0.5M
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Ellen Barkin
as Joyce Victor
Emani Sledge
as `Dawn' Aviva
Valerie Shusterov
as `Judah' Aviva
Hannah Freiman
as `Henry' Aviva
Will Denton
as `Huckleberry' Aviva
Rachel Corr
as `Henrietta' Aviva
Sharon Wilkins
as `Mama Sunshine' Aviv...
Shayna Levine
as `Bob' Aviva
Angela Pietropinto
as Mrs. Wiener
Richard Masur
as Steve Victor
Bill Buell
as Mr. Wiener
Hillary B. Smith
as Robin Wallace
Danton Stone
as Bruce Wallace
Robert Agri
as First Judah Wallace
John Gemberling
as Second Judah Wallace
Dontae Huey
as Shazaam
Debra Monk
as Mama Sunshine
Walter Bobbie
as Bo Sunshine
David Castro
as Carlito
Ebrahim Jaffer
as Motel Clerk
Andrea Demosthenes
as Gwyneth's Mom
Matthew Faber
as Mark Wiener
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Palindromes

Critic Reviews for Palindromes

All Critics (130) | Top Critics (43)

Subversive by reputation, Solondz is an acquired taste on his best day, and he's just all over the place with this one. Unpleasantly so.

Full Review… | June 17, 2005
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic

There's pointed fatalism and indictments of middle-class superiority, but Solondz, ever the outsider, never loses affection for his misfits or stoops to passing judgment on their motivations. Love or hate him, he's vital.

Full Review… | November 7, 2012
Empire Magazine Australasia

"Palindromes" is a sloppy and muddy film that uses the shock value of seeing adult men humping numerous underage girls as its recurring visual device inscrutably linked to an unclear abortion issue theme.

Full Review… | June 20, 2009

A bizarre but brilliant headscratcher!

Full Review… | July 15, 2007
Denver Urban Spectrum

Certainly a unique vision for a filmmaker, this is not a flick for everyone. Stick with it, however, and you just may thoroughly enjoy what is at the heart an incredibly sweet tale.

Full Review… | June 21, 2007
Film Scouts

The director's latest trek into the lunatic void, of what can best be described as the cinematic version of clinical depression.

Full Review… | May 29, 2007
Long Island Press

Audience Reviews for Palindromes

"Palindromes" is intermittently engaging but overall does not have much of a point. The plot focuses on a girl who's about 13 and wants to have a baby. Because her parents will not allow her to pursue this dream, she runs away, hoping to get impregnated someday. Along the way, she meets Christian anti-abortion activists and lives with them for a while. This sequence is by far the best in the film. She also attempts to have an affair with a man, which is quite creepy to watch. Writer/director Todd Solondz has explored pedophilia (and the opposition to it) in several of his films. I'm not exactly sure why he finds it so interesting.

Abortion is another big theme. The main character is forced by her parents to get an abortion early in the film, and she later becomes stridently (even maniacally) pro-life. Again, I was not seeing what drove Solondz to include this hot-button social issue in his screenplay.

The central gimmick in the production is that five or six different actresses play the girl, including two instances where adults play her. One of these adults is Jennifer Jason Leigh in a brief sequence. I didn't find that this technique revealed anything that significant, but I appreciate Solondz' willingness to experiment with form.

The biggest problem is that the film never takes any of its interests seriously. The adventures that the runaway girl has are explored in only a very circumspect and superficial way. Most of the actresses portray her as highly lethargic, and I started to feel as phlegmatic as her while watching the film. Solondz likes to look at the dark underbelly of mainstream suburban culture, but he does not explore it with much gusto or insight. He just kind of glances at it. This makes his films rather slight.

A palindrome, incidentally, is a word that is spelled the same backwards and forwards, like Aviva, the name of the main character. Nothing in the film indicates why Solondz finds this so intriguing as to name the film as he did. And if he told me, I bet I'd find it only mildly interesting.

Bill D 2007
William Dunmyer

Super Reviewer


More than just a sequel to Welcome to the Dollhouse, this is a companion piece. Much more abstract than it's predecessor, Palindromes delves a little deeper into teenage sexuality and it's relationship with self image and self esteem. A very dynamic and off-beat film.

Randy Tippy

Super Reviewer


Todd Solondz's strangest & imo weakest film

Arash Xak

Super Reviewer

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