Aviva is thirteen, awkward and sensitive. Her mother Joyce is warm and loving, as is her father, Steve, a regular guy who does have a fierce temper from time to time. The film revolves around her family, friends and neighbors.
Ira is a nervous playwright waiting and hoping to succeed with his art, which he takes it very seriously. But following his dreams and ambitions isn't something easy to do, specially when ... See full summary »
Todd Solondz plays a high schooler who wants to get into MIT. The only problem is, his gym teacher hates him, and fails him because he can't hit a shot in basketball. He also has no luck ... See full summary »
A fable of innocence: 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 plan is thwarted by her sensible parents. 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. Written by
Sujit R. Varma
Whenever a film by Todd Solondz comes out I'm excited. The reason I'm excited and the reason most people are excited is because you know it's going to break all kinds of taboos and be disgusting and tasteless and blah, blah, blah. When you sit down and view a Solondz feature you know it will be one sick friggin' movie, and 'Palindromes' definitely delivers on that account. It's not so much 'Palindromes' breaks so many taboos is that it is perhaps his most unsettling film. Yes, even more unsettling then his most acclaimed work 'Happiness' which followed a perverted prank caller, a serial-killing fatty, a struggling novelist who wished she was raped as a little girl and a psychiatrist who is secretly a homosexual pedophile. 'Palindromes' is unsettling because it deals with such a dark and very realistic element of life -- childhood pregnancy. We follow a little girl (played by different actresses in every section including a morbidly obese black woman and JENNIFER JASON LEIGH!) who has an abortion because her mother (Ellen Barkin) makes her. The little girl is confused and angry so she runs away and finds what could be solace with a simple country Christian household that adopts disabled children who form a Christian pop band while the man of the house conspires to murder abortion doctors. It's one sick film, but it's also poignant too.
All of the actresses who play the little girl do a very fine job. Ellen Barkin is solid in her really nothing role, while Mathew Faber (who reprises his role from 'Welcome to the Dollhouse') is hysterical and consistently a pleasure to watch especially during his 'nobody ever changes in life' speech at the end which seems to be one of the main points Solondz's 'Palindromes' tries to get across. I feel Solondz tries to open our eyes by saying not everything is what it seems and life isn't a beautiful perfect thing. He expresses this by showing us a seemingly wholesome family with good "christian" values who commit such disgusting and heinous acts such as murder. 'Palindromes' is a very dark movie on one hand, but a very hysterical one on the other. The scene where the disabled kids are singing in their Christian pop band caused me to burst into uncontrollable laughter, while the kids' quirky and hilariously satirical dialogue at the breakfast tablee scene reminds of a Brady Bunch Episode from hell.
'Palindromes' is a good film, but it is probably Solondz's weakest effort. I was semi-satisfied with it, but I was really expected a hell of a lot more. The acting was good (but not as good as his other films), the writing was good (but not nearly as good as 'Happiness' or 'Welcome to the Dollhouse) but the directing seemed to be more improved then any of his other films (except that opening scene shot on a camcorder -- I think that was supposed to be very low-budget). Die-hard indie, Solondz or just off-beat film fans will enjoy this, but someone expecting a mainstream feature will detest it. View 'Palindromes' at your own risk. If you find it repulsive and devastating to watch, don't say I didn't warn you. Grade: B
my ratings guide - A+ (absolutley flawless); A (a masterpiece, near-perfect); A- (excellent); B+ (great); B (very good); B- (good); C+ (a mixed bag); C (average); C- (disappointing); D+ (bad); D (very bad); D- (absolutley horrendous); F (not one redeeming quality in this hunk of Hollywood feces).
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