Welcome to the Dollhouse


Welcome to the Dollhouse (1995)


Critic Consensus: An outstanding sophomore feature, Welcome to the Dollhouse sees writer-director Todd Solondz mining suburban teen angst for black, biting comedy.


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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.

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Heather Matarazzo
as Dawn Wiener
Matthew Faber
as Mark Wiener
Daria Kalinina
as Missy Wiener
Angela Pietropinto
as Mrs. Wiener
Brendan Sexton III
as Brandon McCarthy
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
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News & Interviews for Welcome to the Dollhouse

Critic Reviews for Welcome to the Dollhouse

All Critics (51) | Top Critics (9)

The beauty of Welcome to the Dollhouse is its pokerfaced objectivity, which neither condescends to its pubescent victim nor romantically inflates her plight.

Feb 26, 2018 | Full Review…
Top Critic

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.

Dec 20, 2006 | Rating: A-
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.

Jan 1, 2000 | Rating: 3.5/4
USA Today
Top Critic

...a vision of middle-school awkwardness so cringe-worthy you'll be tempted to look away.

Jul 18, 2018 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

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

Jun 29, 2016 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

A dark look at adolescence; not for kids.

Jan 1, 2011 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

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

Welcome To The Dollhouse has to be one of the most important films in history solely due to the fact that it shows what an unpopular, rather ugly school age girl goes threw. Complete with torment, dark sarcasm in the class room, and parents that do not really care. Now, what makes this film unique is that it is the ultimate dark comedy and you can not but help to laugh at Dawn threw her misadventures. Recommend for anyone that enjoys dark comedy and wants to see a good independent film.

Zach Brehany
Zach Brehany

Super Reviewer

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