A young teen with no support from family, friends and school falls in love with the unattainable coolest guy in high school at the same time she wins the sympathy and attention of the junior high school bully. — Genre: Feat... more »ure Film-Comedy
David M. from WALKERTON, IN Reviewed on 12/16/2012...
I watched this a few years back and here I must throw my two cents in because that is all the film is worth.
Yes, it does show the pains of growing up, etc. and it is realistic in that sense
What it did not provide was an ending; nothing to wrap up the convoluted storyline of the bad things happening to this girl.
Silly films like this should end happily ever after, not just end. I was honestly waiting for something good to happen for this girl, it didn't.
The movie just gets worse and worse, nothing turns around. Yes that is probably reality but we all know reality stinks.
Next time give me something worthwhile with some kind of an ending, or at least provide a warning when there is none.
Watch at your own risk.
1 of 3 member(s) found this review helpful.
I even liked the song
Dennis Littrell | SoCal | 11/09/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"BEWARE SPOILERS! This is a very funny comedy about the indomitable spirit of an 11-year-old junior high school girl, Dawn Wiener, played with geekish verve by Heather Matarazzo, who overcomes real life horrors the likes of which would make war heroes shutter. How would you like to be courted by a guy whose pick up line is "I'm going to rape you at three o'clock. Be there."? Or have a mother who splits your chocolate cake in front of your watering eyes into two pieces and adds them to the plates of your brother and sister? Or have your dream lover tell you he can't be a member of your Special People Club because it's "a club for retards"?
It gets worse. You're taunted daily by choruses of "Wiener Dog!" and "Lesbo freak!" and bullied at school by everybody including some teachers and the principal. And at home, your siblings tear down your club house. And when you're missing from home for a day and phone home, you're told to call back later, mom and your spoiled little sister are mugging for the TV cameras.
Ah, but Dawn can overcome the night. She turns the would-be rapist into a macho-posturing little boy who really only wants to be affectionate ("I make the first move!" he boasts) and demonstrates that no matter how hard they hit her, she'll be back tomorrow, undaunted.
Matarazzo does a great job, but she isn't alone. Brenden Sexton stands out as the posturing macho boy who loves her but can't admit it, as does Eric Mabius playing Steve Rogers, the self-absorbed high schooler/rock star wanna be (and Dawn's first love). The rest of the cast is also good, especially Victoria Davis in a bit part as the foul-mouthed, sexually ambiguous 12-year-old Lolita who corners Dawn in the bathroom. Incidentally that scene in which Lolita slyly tells Dawn "You didn't come in here to wash your hands," and insists that she do what she intended to do is just a great piece of pre adolescent camp. Another fine (and subtle) scene is when Dawn in her bedroom hears Steve Rogers sing for the first time (in the garage with her brother's "band"). The expression on her face, as she rises up enthralled and follows the sound, suggests someone in the throes of a first awakening. And I loved the bit where Dawn, after being told by one of Steve Rogers's ex-girl friends that they "finger-...(you-know-what)" one night and that was all, is inspired to demonstrate her finger work on the piano to Steve and then to show him her hands, fingers spread so he can see them. Of course he hasn't a clue to what she's thinking--and we're not too sure either!
Now some people may think there is some exaggeration here, and they're right. I mean, nobody wears a pirate's black eye patch after getting hit in the eye with a spit ball! And teachers, even bad ones, know better than to deliberately humiliate their students (although some do it unconsciously). Nonetheless, while the action may not be entirely realistic at times, its spirit is totally true. Just ask anybody who remembers junior high school. Which brings me to the question: how did director and script writer, Todd Solondz, get it so right? Did he take notes when he was still in junior high to use when he grew up? Did he steal his daughter's diary? Clearly somebody lived this script. I'm guessing that "Dawn" is "Todd" at least in spirit, and the striking capture of the psychology of the world of being twelve-years-old is due to his having been there and done that, "big time," as is written on Dawn's locker.
Whatever, this full color world of the middle child is an adorable, witty, psychologically honest, beautifully directed and edited, masterfully conceived entertainment, winner of the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance, 1996, and sure to steal your heart.
Final irony: this is a movie for and about 12-year-olds (it would appear) yet it is rated "R" and so, in effect, junior high school life is not only "not suitable" for those under thirteen, they can't even view it!"
One of the Best Movies of the 1990s.
The Groove | Boston, MA | 07/09/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Let me get this out of the way: in grade school, I was teased. A lot. In fact, it was so bad that even walking to school was an emotionally and physically painful experience. I can relate to every second of misery Dawn endures in the dynamite "Welcome to the Dollhouse." Most films like "Sixteen Candles" view high school as some insulated paradise. Not this film. Here, Dawn (played by Heather Matarazzo) is as socially inept as a pre-teen girl can be. She is subject to taunts, verbal assault, and vicious mind games at the hands of her classmates. Home life isn't much better; her parents blissfully ignore her while they shower attention on her cutsey younger sister, Missy. They give her attention only when they catch her doing something wrong, which seems to be most of the time. On top of this, she develops a crush for the teenage lead singer of her brother's band. Anyone who has experienced unrequieted love will find this subplot heartbreaking to watch. Despite the above, "Welcome to the Dollhouse" is a murderously funny movie to watch, even if you were a victim of grade school teasing. The performances are dead-on and it's one of my favorite movies of the 1990's."
A Painful Pleasure
Brian Misso | San Francisco | 04/07/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"When I first saw "Welcome to the Dollhouse" in the theater, I had mixed feelings about it. Although I found myself totally immersed in this offbeat story of a pathetic and persecuted girl, I initially questioned whether the movie really had a heart. What truly impressed me was Todd Solondz's frighteningly realistic depiction of junior high. As far as I'm concerned, it would be impossible for a filmmaker to exaggerate the torture of those hellish years, and Solondz really captured the experience to its full extent. What I considered somewhat unrealistic and offputting at the time was the way Dawn's family came across as so uncaring and even malicious. The film is obviously a black comedy, intended for uncomfortable laughs, but it seemed that these characters were so impossibly mean that they risked becoming ugly caricatures that you couldn't take seriously. I came away feeling that I had just witnessed something very intense and moving, yet I also felt the movie was overly preoccupied with its intent to shock and disturb. Since that initial viewing, I have purchased the video and watched it at least five times. With each viewing, I have found more and more truth and resonance in the bleak and hopeless world that Solondz constructed...and have become more and more convinced of its status as a minor masterpiece. Even though there is a lot of over-the-top venom and hostility thrown around in this film, there are also heartbreaking moments of raw and deeply-felt emotion that anyone who has ever wanted to be loved and accepted can surely relate to (in other words, the majority of humankind). One of the most poignant segments is when Dawn dreams that everyone in her life is declaring their love for her, only to wake up to her reality: she is alone and lying on a dirty city street. Then there's always the film's final and most emotionally devastating image of Dawn riding on a bus to Disneyland with her Glee Club. Those last few seconds always give me goosebumps. And don't forget the all-time best movie lines that have become staples among my circle of friends: "Tell your sister you love her!" and "At 3:00, you will be raped." I am now convinced that anyone who is unable to find some value in this movie is either 1) one of the lucky few who was generic enough to make it through those junior high years free of torment or 2) one of the mean and malicious people depicted in the movie who turned the rest of us into a bunch of Dawn Weiners."
""Why do you hate me?" asks Dawn, a junior high outcast. "Because you're... ugly," replies her classmate, in one of the most heart-wrenching scenes in "Welcome to the Dollhouse". Heather Matarazzo plays Dawn Wiener, a junior high school student with no friends and parents who favour her younger sister Missy. Dawn is constantly harassed, especially by Brandon, a boy involved in drugs. After enduring what she does at school, Dawn comes home to her family - a family that could really care less about her. During the course of the film, I couldn't stop feeling sorry for Dawn because, like most people who can relate to this movie, I was sort of like Dawn when I was in school. Heather Matarazzo perfectly portrays Dawn in a way that most other actresses probably couldn't. She brings realism and honesty to the role and keeps the movie afloat during the last twenty minutes when it gets a bit silly. All in all, "Welcome to the Dollhouse" has been able to convey the realities of high school, unlike some recent movies and television shows. This is a MUST for anyone who didn't have the greatest time in school."