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Seventh-grade is no fun. Especially for Dawn Weiner when everyone at school calls you 'Dog-Face' or 'Wiener-Dog.' Not to mention if your older brother is 'King of the Nerds' and your younger sister is a cutesy ballerina who gets you in trouble but is your parents' favorite. And that's just the beginning--her life seems to be falling apart when she faces rejection from the older guy in her brother's band that she has a crush on, her parents want to tear down her 'Special People's Club' clubhouse, and her sister is abducted.... Written by
Tad Dibbern <DIBBERN_D@a1.mscf.upenn.edu>
painfully true examination of the horror that is childhood
Grimly convincing portrayal of life in junior high school for the unpopular. If you aren't blown away by how realistic this is then you weren't unpopular enough: this is the real deal.
This movie strips away the rosy patina of nostalgia that covers most other films that portray the grim nature of childhood. I admire the film for avoiding the common trap of making the lead an innocent victim. Heather is, when the opportunity arises, just as cruel as anyone else in the film. The movie doesn't make Heather a child, but instead makes her a confused human being full of conflicting emotions such as hatred, lust, anguish and guilt.
I think to understand this movie though, you need to realize that you are viewing everything from Heather's point of view. Teachers and parents are ridiculously unfair, classmates are alarmingly sadistic, and you could point at some action and say, oh, I doubt that would happen, but there's a strong emotional truth; this is what it feels like to be an unhappy child.
When I watch movies about unpopular kids, I am always disappointed because their lives are better than mine was, and this is the first movie I could point to and say, if you want to see what I was dealing with in Junior High, watch Dollhouse. But while I always wanted a movie that shows the unvarnished truth, it is really difficult to watch. Although if you can make it through the first half hour it gets just a shade less horrific. And it does have a quirky sense of humor that lightens it some. I avoided this movie for years because I was afraid it would be too painful, and a friend said no, it's not that painful, and she was sort of right and sort of wrong. But it's definitely worth seeing.
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