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
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Critic Reviews for Palindromes
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.
The movie's oppressive atmosphere of flatly rendered, all-consuming determinism leaves it sparkless, pointless and ultimately not very funny.
In its own peculiar way, it is a more compassionate and useful religious document than Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ.
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.
"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.
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.
The director's latest trek into the lunatic void, of what can best be described as the cinematic version of clinical depression.
...captures the shifting identity of adolescence, where one day you feel like a glamorous adult, others like a scared child, others still like a grotesquely overweight misfit.
potentially decent film buried under the thick layers of misanthropy
OK, I'll admit it: I've next to no idea what to make of Palindromes, and you know what? I doubt the filmmaker would have a problem with me owning up to it.
For all its pompous attempts at seriousness and emotional depth, Palindromes is actually a remarkably shallow affair.
Aviva...in all her permutations, may as well be a bug under the director's microscope.
[Director Todd] Solondz simply pukes all over the American landscape and all its inhabitants in a nihilistic cinematic chunder...
Underdeveloped and uneven yet oddly watchable, the gimmicky Palindromes once again cements the conceit that nobody makes films quite like Todd Solondz.
Todd Solondz's latest provocation is Palindromes, yet another uncomfortable fable of suburban dysfunction, puberty, and statutory rape.
Solondz's masterstroke is to have the girl, Aviva, played by eight different actors of varying ages, sizes and races -- a move that should decimate the film's narrative coherence but instead ups its allegorical value immeasurably.
...his most political film to date, yet any commentary Solondz tries to make becomes muddled amid all the depressing weirdness.
As long as we're trying Michael Jackson in a court of law, why can't we thrown in Todd Solondz as a co-defendent?
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.
It?s a bit complicated but its bold and very original! Typically disturbing while being quite tender, what will Solondz do next?More
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.More
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