Critics Consensus

Unique but cold.



Total Count: 120


Audience Score

User Ratings: 8,913
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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.


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' Aviva
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
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Critic Reviews for Palindromes

All Critics (120) | Top Critics (38) | Fresh (51) | Rotten (69)

Audience Reviews for Palindromes

  • Feb 15, 2013
    I think it's a wonderful follow up to the cult classic- Welcome to the Dollhouse. It was once again, darkly humored, right from the very beginning of the film, you can already feel the macabre. Very typically Jewish but very fresh and original. Aviva is basically another Dawn, with a different storyline and different actors. I think it's quite unique in the way that 8 different actors played the same role. Also the title of the film really does get into you and you would see how clever it is. Fans would enjoy it but others may not.
    Sylvester K Super Reviewer
  • Feb 07, 2012
    Solondz' best move in my opinion. The use of radically different performers to play the lead is absolutely fascinating to see in action and adds to the universality of the message.
    John B Super Reviewer
  • Feb 08, 2011
    With "Palindromes," writer-director Todd Solondz's intentions are hard to fathom. His primary thrust seems to be an attack on anti-abortionists, but his targeted characters are so extreme (they plot to murder doctors who perform abortions) that it's grossly unfair to view them as symptomatic of the movement. But at the same time, he offers little reason to support his protagonist Aviva. (Her name is a palindrome, get it?) She's dim-witted, malleable and listless, and Solondz further distances us from her by having 10 (10!) different actresses portray her throughout the film. And sorry to say, the most prominent of them is deeply unappealing. He costumes most of them in an ugly, belly-baring top, besides. So, where do our sympathies lie? The only appealing character is a young boy named Peter Paul, but he eventually turns out to be just another fanatic. Bad vibes everywhere. "Palindromes" is a sequel of sorts to Solondz's watershed "Welcome to the Dollhouse," and it opens with the funeral of that film's Dawn Wiener, who apparently killed herself after being impregnated by a date rapist. Cheery stuff -- thanks for the closure. We also discover she became overweight and acne-riddled, so that's a bonus. At least one character does recur from "Dollhouse": Dawn's brother Mark (Matthew Faber), now a peculiar man accused of child molestation. Otherwise, we're introduced to Aviva, a 13-year-old girl who has no interest in sexual pleasure but desperately yearns to be pregnant. When a naive friend inadvertently obliges her (they have sex within hours of meeting, while their parents chat downstairs), Aviva's parents (Ellen Barkin and Richard Masur, in thankless roles) demand she get an abortion. After the procedure has sad complications that Aviva doesn't even realize (so, is Solondz pro-choice or not?), she runs away from home and meets various distasteful people who do her no good. Along the way, a degree of perverse entertainment is provided by "The Sunshine Singers," a fictional group of handicapped/diseased children who sing and dance creepy, Christian-pop tunes. Just wait until the "Glee" crowd discovers this film.
    Eric B Super Reviewer
  • Jul 07, 2010
    Its a kind of shotgun approach to satire and social commentary. Its all over the place, but I respect the audaciousness of Solondz for trying something so out there and mostly succeeding.
    Alec B Super Reviewer

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