Thursday, May 19, 2005


Palindromes (Director: Todd Solondz)

Solondz burst onto the scene with Welcome to the Dollhouse. Then he made his best film in Happiness, with some of the most matter-of-fact brutal dialogue you'll ever hear. Then came Storytelling, which was mostly bad.

This is the story of child-whore Aviva (played by 8 different girls and women of different colors and sizes), who seeks acceptance, usually from men, via fucking. OK, well, it's not entirely about that, but the young girl wants to have seed planted in her so that she can have a baby. Her first experience with male thrusting is a 4-second affair that leads to life, glorious life! only to be taken away by her mother (Ellen Barkin) who takes her to Dr. Coat Hanger, er, I mean Fleisher. What follows is a journey away from home, an affair with a trucker (a very comfortable scene to watch), and the acceptance into a pro-life Christian cult filled with the handicapped and retards.

Indeed, the actress-changing makes little sense, since there's no better understanding or enlightenment to be had. It's almost as if Solondz wanted to have a range of emotions that he couldn't find in one girl, so he found 8 who could do the job, including Jennifer Jason Leigh in probably the best scene in the whole movie. Plus, the palindromes theme is not explored very well--we see the girls all the way up to Jennifer Jason Leigh then reverse their order to complete the palindrome of the film, but so quickly that it's nonsense, and mostly during some more beautiful man-on-girl love. And we have the main character Aviva, and we have a guy who wants to change his name to Otto, but the point still eludes me.

I realized after this movie, after not getting it, that Todd Solondz is a more intelligent man than me, and the people who love this film are more intelligent than me. If I got into a conversation with this group of people, I would not be able to hold my own, because they have evolved to a point that my relatively Neanderthal brain can't possibly function. I believe that this film will win a section of the public who generally think that anything different is, by extension, good. I am not one of those people. Just give me my remakes, man. That's all I ask.


At 5/19/2005 01:41:00 PM, Blogger Kennelworthy said...

Does it have that They Might Be Giants song in it, "I, Palindrome, I?"

At 5/19/2005 02:56:00 PM, Blogger Jonathan said...

You know, I never even caught the progression from youngest to oldest then back to youngest. I'm impressed you got that much out of it.


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