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Welcome to the Dollhouse

219 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Not all girls want to play with dolls. Todd Solondz became the most talked-about new director in recent years with this acclaimed comedy about the suburban condition. Winner of the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival, Welcome to the Dollhouse follows 11-year-old Dawn "Wienerdog" Wiener (Heather Matarazzo), a junior high geek who just wants to be popular. Teased by her classmates, tormented by the school bully, Dawn develops an improbable plan to seduce the star of a high-school garage band. Bitterly funny and true to life, WELCOME TO THE DOLLHOUSE is a "mordantly hilarious suburbancomedy - excruciating funny." (Janet Maslin, NEW YORK TIMES)

Special Features

  • Sundance Film Festival, Grand Jury Prize, Winner, 1996

Product Details

  • Actors: Brendan Sexton, Siri Howard, Victoria Davis, Christina Vidal, Christina Brucato
  • Directors: Todd Solondz
  • Producers: Todd Solondz
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Full Screen, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: August 3, 1999
  • Run Time: 88 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (219 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 0767827740
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #14,486 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Welcome to the Dollhouse" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

109 of 116 people found the following review helpful By Dennis Littrell HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 9, 2001
Format: VHS Tape
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.
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56 of 59 people found the following review helpful By The Groove on July 9, 2002
Format: DVD
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.
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43 of 48 people found the following review helpful By Brian Misso on April 7, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
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).Read more ›
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 3, 2001
Format: VHS Tape
The first time I saw this movie I loved it. It's hilarious. I can say that this movie is completely accurate in depicting the horrors that befall the unlucky, ugly, socially inept, nerds, etc junior high school kids. I say it's accurate because Heather is ME when I was in seventh grade. I was picked on mercilessly, called names (my 7th grade yearbook has PROOF of what my classmates called me) my family home life was beyond miserable. I had no one to talk to about anything. I got picked on in school and ceaselessly nagged and told how awful I was at home. And I am not making any of this up. And yes, I TOO am amazed at myself that I haven't ended up in jail or have committed suicide due to that year plus the years before and following.
I think the movie is hilarious. It is accurate and anyone who says it is not realistic, well you are dead wrong. I'm 31 now and somehow recovered from that year, but believe me, I still have scars. But I think I've recovered enough that I can laugh at this movie. I can laugh because I've been through it. I don't laugh because I'm mean, or don't have a heart, I laugh because of how true this movie is. And I laugh because I am happy that I wasn't the only one who went through the torture of 7th grade.
Oh, my nickname was Smelanie in case anyone was interested.
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