Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Welcome to the Dollhouse

So, I haven't seen a lot of Todd Solondz movies--only this one and Palindromes--but I think there's something about his aesthetic that I just don't get. I feel like he's incredibly sympathetic to his characters, but there's so little sympathy between characters. Which is integral to the movies, but just seems so uncomfortable to me. And not uncomfortable in a shows-us-an-integral-truth way, but uncomfortable in an unnatural way.

Now this might shock you, given my ever so happening social life and infinitely cool interests, but I was not a particularly popular middle schooler. I spent a lot of time alone in my room reading. Not just reading, but reading fantasy books. But I was never as nerdy as Dawn Weiner. Largely because I was never so angry, nor so starved for popularity. Which I find both comforting and slightly unnerving.

Or at least unnerving for me, because as tough as she has it in terms of emotional support, I find myself not terribly sympathetic toward her. Shouldn't I, as someone who was not cool, who felt alienated to an extent, be able to find more than a sliver of compassion for a character like that? I considered that it might be similar to The Catcher in the Rye where, in my opinion, it helps to read the book at a certain period in your life. I think if I read Catcher for the first time now, I'd be fairly annoyed with Holden. But I read it when I was an angry, phony-hating teenager, and at that point the book spoke to me emotionally in a way I'm not sure it would now.

So, anyway, I thought about that. And then I decided that it's not the problem here. The problem is that there's something about the movie that, for me at least, doesn't quite ring true. By the time the little sister got kidnapped, I'd kind of emotionally checked out of the whole thing. And it seems to me that with a movie like this, it's a disappointment to have a purely cerebral response.

No comments: