Welcome to the Dollhouse (1995) - Rotten Tomatoes

Welcome to the Dollhouse (1995)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Welcome to the Dollhouse Trailers & Photos

Movie Info

Twelve-year-old Dawn Wiener (Heather Matarazzo) is perhaps the most put-upon adolescent in film history in Todd Solondz's bitterly hilarious black comedy Welcome to the Dollhouse. Dawn is bright but awkward, both physically and socially, and is appallingly unpopular among her peers, to whom she's better known as "Wienerdog." Possessing little charm or grace and perhaps the most misguided fashion sense of her generation, Dawn is not an easy girl to like and practically no one seems interested in making the effort. If life is tough for Dawn at school, it's hardly any better at home. While her folks dote on her gratingly cute younger sister Missy (Daria Kalinina) and look with pride to her bookish older brother Mark (Matthew Faber), Dawn is either ignored or treated as an annoyance. Dawn has developed a crush on Steve (Eric Mabius), the hunky guitarist Mark has drafted into his rock band (significantly, Mark is less interested in making cool noise or unloading teenage angst than in having another extracurricular activity to put on his college applications); Steve is polite but obviously not interested in her. However, Dawn has attracted the attention of a boy at school -- Brandon (Brendan Sexton), a mean-spirited junior thug whose idea of a good time is threatening Dawn with rape. A painfully accurate account of life in junior high (what Matt Groening called "the lowest pit of hell"), Welcome to the Dollhouse is also very funny, but writer and director Todd Solondz never lets the film's humor dilute the agony of its leading character; anyone who has ever been 12 years old will doubtless laugh at Dawn while uncomfortably recalling the horror of their own preteen years.more
Rating: R (adult situations/language)
Genre: Drama, Comedy
Directed By:
Written By: Todd Solondz
In Theaters:
On DVD: Aug 3, 1999
Sony Pictures Classics


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

News & Interviews for Welcome to the Dollhouse

Critic Reviews for Welcome to the Dollhouse

All Critics (59) | Top Critics (12)

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
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.

January 1, 2000
USA Today
Top Critic

Full Review… | September 7, 2011
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic

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

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.

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 o.
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

Super Reviewer

Welcome to the Dollhouse Quotes

– Submitted by Darla D (22 months ago)
– Submitted by Darla D (22 months ago)

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