San Francisco, California
London, United Kingdom
USA | 1996 | Fiction | 88 minutes
Writer and Director: Todd Solondz
Producer: Todd Solondz
Cinematographer: Randy Drummond
Editor: Alan Oxman
Composer: Jill Wisoff
Cast: Heather Matarazzo, Brendan Sexton III, Matthew Faber, Daria Kalinina, Eric Mabius
The awkward hell that is junior high school for an unpopular and insecure 7th grader is beautifully and sharply captured in Todd Solondz’s bracing debut film, Welcome to the Dollhouse, which won the Grand Prize at the 1996 Sundance Film Festival. Heather Matarazzo is unforgettable as Dawn Wiener, beleaguered by her New Jersey family and fellow students, who torment her with pranks and sexual threats. Her various nicknames include “Wiener Dog,” “Lesbo,” and “Stupid.” With obvious affection and sympathy for his outsider heroine, Solondz paints an archly satirical and thoroughly entertaining portrait of suburban alienation.
Filmmaker bio: New York-based Todd Solondz is a provocative and incisive filmmaker whose films explore such dark emotional territories as humiliation, awkwardness, insecurity and loneliness. His films include Happiness (starring Philip Seymour Hoffman, Jon Lovitz, and Lara Flynn Boyle), Storytelling, Life During Wartime, Palindromes, The Dark Horse.