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Unique but cold.
All Critics (120)
| Top Critics (37)
| Fresh (51)
| Rotten (69)
| DVD (4)
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.
Let the discomfort commence.
Palindromes" isn't a wise movie, or a particularly true movie, but it's an honest one and a singular experience.
Not much more than trickery and artifice, and not worth the death of dear, departed Dawn.
It seems stuck entirely at the level of "what would happen if we tried..."
Nothing about Palindromes is easy to resolve. This should come as great news for fans of Todd Solondz.
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.
A bizarre but brilliant headscratcher!
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.
"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.
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.
Todd Solondz's strangest & imo weakest film
Poor 13 year girl can't have a baby, but REALLY wants one.
and you know what this is? the worlds smallest violin playing "my heart cries for you"
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