Welcome to the Dollhouse -Film Review
Let me be the first to say, thank goodness junior high is over. Those awkward three years of braces, glasses, popularity and puberty, we all endured it and we are all glad its over. So as you watch Dawn Wiener (Heather Matarazzo) enter the hallways of her junior high we can sit back and relax knowing its not happening to us.
On top of dealing with puberty and popularity, Dawn is bullied, threatened, verbally and emotionally abused, and is shunned by her family. While some of us may be able to relate to her on some level, this is not your average junior high experience. Dawn’s social jarring first manifests when she sits down with a girl who would appear to be her friend but who quickly stabs her in the back calling her a ‘lesbo’.
Bullying her younger sister, Lolita (Victoria Davis) and her only friend Ralphy, (Dimitri Iervolino) Dawn becomes the monster she fights everyday at school. While the viewer might have sympathy for her during the school day all is lost at home where she becomes the bully.
I can’t imagine this story being too realistic. While it is meant to be fun and comical the film addresses many issues that millions of children are faced with everyday. Brendan (Brandon McCarthy) is seen as the troubled boy and the main bully. First threatening to rape Dawn and then giving Dawn her first kiss the viewer, that recognized him as a monster, now sees him as someone who just wants to be cared for. Although laughable, the interactions between Dawn and Brendan exemplify the severity of a poor upbringing.
Watching the film the first time I enjoyed it, it was not until the second that I saw the film as satire. At first glance Welcome to the Dollhouse is just a story of a trouble girl, but as the film progresses the story becomes a reflection of the mistreatment of children.