Palindromes (2004)



Critic Consensus: Unique but cold.

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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.
NR (not rated)
Comedy , Drama , Special Interest
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:

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Ellen Barkin
as Joyce Victor
Jennifer Jason Leigh
as `Mark' Aviva
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
Stephen Adly Guirgis
as Joe/Earl/Bob
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
Alexander Brickel
as Peter Paul
Dontae Huey
as Shazaam
Debra Monk
as Mama Sunshine
Walter Bobbie
as Bo Sunshine
Tyler Maynard
as Jiminy
Joshua Eber
as Skippy
David Castro
as Carlito
Richard Riehle
as Dr. Dan
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 (116) | Top Critics (37)

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | October 17, 2008
Top Critic

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | June 23, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

No excerpt available.

May 11, 2006
New York Magazine/Vulture
Top Critic

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | September 25, 2005
AV Club
Top Critic

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | July 20, 2005
Houston Chronicle
Top Critic

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | July 5, 2005
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Top Critic

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.

William Dunmyer
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
Randy Tippy

Super Reviewer


Todd Solondz's strangest & imo weakest film

Arash Xak
Arash Xak

Super Reviewer

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