Welcome to the Dollhouse (1995)

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AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

An unpopular seventh-grade girl finds her life a living hell, thanks to the ridicule of her peers and the indifference of her family. This critically acclaimed, entirely unsentimental dark comedy depicts her struggles to survive this incredibly awkward age.
Rating:
R (adult situations/language)
Genre:
Comedy , Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
 wide
On DVD:
Runtime:
Studio:
Sony Pictures Classics

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Cast

Heather Matarazzo
as Dawn Wiener
Brendan Sexton III
as Brandon McCarthy
Eric Mabius
as Steve Rodgers
Ken Leung
as Barry
Will Lyman
as Mr. Edwards
Angela Pietropinto
as Mrs. Wiener
Matthew Faber
as Mark Wiener
Teddy Coluca
as Police Sergeant
Rica Martens
as Mrs. Grissom
Bill Buell
as Mr. Wiener
James M. O'Donoghue
as Mr. McCarthy
Elizabeth Martin
as Mrs. Iannone
Daria Kalinina
as Missy Wiener
Siri Howard
as Chrissy
Stacey Moseley
as Mary Ellen Moriarty
Zsanne Pitta
as Ginger Friedman
Richard Gould
as Mr. Kasdan
Beverly Hecht
as Steve's Girlfriend
Tommy Fager
as Tommy McCarthy
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Critic Reviews for Welcome to the Dollhouse

All Critics (49) | Top Critics (8)

One of the highlights of the 1995 Toronto Festival, Solondz's second film is a stark, often funny, always poignant comedy about suburban mores, centering on a misfit Jewish girl tormented by her family and classmates.

Full Review… | December 20, 2006
Variety
Top Critic

At 87 minutes, Dollhouse is a near-perfect morsel. If nothing else, it informs older folk that school principals still threaten to record bad behavior in one's 'personal record' -- only now, computers facilitate the process.

December 31, 1999
USA Today
Top Critic

Welcome to the Dollhouse marks a substantial (and obvious) improvement over filmmaker Todd Solondz's underwhelming debut, Fear Anxiety and Depression...

Full Review… | June 28, 2016
Reel Film Reviews

A dark look at adolescence; not for kids.

Full Review… | January 1, 2011
Common Sense Media

Welcome to the Dollhouse puts an ugly duckling through her paces.

Full Review… | September 1, 2009
City Pages, Minneapolis/St. Paul

quirky and great

April 9, 2008

Audience Reviews for Welcome to the Dollhouse

Director Todd Solondz makes independent black comedies that will make your skin crawl and your belly heave with laughter. He easily blends the horrible nature of humanity with its own absurdity, best evidenced by this film. Heather Matarazzo plays Dawn Wiener, an unloved, bullied, tactless middle school aged girl who tries to find attention from her brother's bandmate, become popular in the eyes of her classmates, and be free of her mother's constricting gaze. What remains great about this film, even twenty years later, is its unabashed, true portrayal of what it is to be an ugly duckling in a world of swans. Every character is well represented, realistic, and unpalatable in their own way: The misunderstood bully speaks in extremes, the mother is borderline abusive in her treatment of her least favorite child, the brother can only see what's important to him and not others' feelings, and the little daughter reaps the rewards of her mother's favoritism. This is a film of extremes, but it isn't completely absurdist, and there's much to love because of that.

Spencer S.
Spencer S.

Super Reviewer

Not the type of middle school most people imagined it to be. Todd Solondz takes us into his interpretation of school life and the result is a provocative piece of cinema that would make some of us cry if we had to experience it ourselves.

paul oh
paul oh

Super Reviewer

Okay, now after watching this and Let the Right One In I look upon middle school life completely differently. I can't watch another kid's movie without thinking some terrible bullying involving knives or something is going to come soon. I have become desensitized to juvenile violence, I think.

Heather Matarazzo is so impressive I don't even know what to say! I don't look upon her as a little kid but as a human with terrible conflicts going inside her. Solondz has really three-dimensionalized Dawn so that everybody can identify with her and pity her and also hate her at the same time. Everyone has a little bit of Dawn in themselves but she's so extreme you have to laugh. But you understand her too.

Made me understand what black comedy truly is. Just when you think the screenplay can't get more original Solondz throws another curveball at you. The scene that sticks out most is the cake one. WHOA what a bitch mother.

Jennifer Xu
Jennifer Xu

Super Reviewer

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