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Welcome to the Dollhouse (1996)

Heather Matarazzo , Christina Brucato , Todd Solondz  |  R |  DVD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (189 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Heather Matarazzo, Christina Brucato, Victoria Davis, Christina Vidal, Siri Howard
  • Directors: Todd Solondz
  • Writers: Todd Solondz
  • Producers: Dan Partland, Donna L. Bascom, Jason Kliot, Joana Vicente, Priscilla Guastavino
  • Format: 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 (189 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 0767827740
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #29,967 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Welcome to the Dollhouse" on IMDb

Special Features

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

Editorial Reviews

Winona Ryder, Jeff Daniels. A sensitive small-town teenager dreams that a sexy, successful movie star (and former hometown girl) is her real mother. 1990/color/98 min/PG-13/(CC).

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
104 of 111 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I even liked the song 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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48 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Best Movies of the 1990s. July 9, 2002
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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35 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Painful Pleasure 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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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I was completely Heather November 3, 2001
By A Customer
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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Love the movie
Wish this movie was on DVD. That it too bad because its a great movie for tweens and teens. Great!
Published 24 days ago by Ms C.
5.0 out of 5 stars Nice to Own It
I watched this when it came out at the video stores. Something a bit antiquated sounding now. I notice the name pop up on some other method of watching, got a ways into it and... Read more
Published 1 month ago by J. Morgan
5.0 out of 5 stars .... TO THE JUNGLE

Published 1 month ago by Gregory J. Belcastro
4.0 out of 5 stars Seems to be good...
I can't give a personal review about the book as it was a present for my wife. I do feel comfortable giving a review and four stars from my wife's description and reaction though. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Geoblime
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic
This is a great movie and though you would think it is a comedy (it is VERY darkly funny) it is all drama.
Published 3 months ago by Ross W. Virock
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Movie
Another great movie from one of my favorite directors, Todd Solondz. For a great majority of kids, this is their reality & Solondz translates it perfectly in this film.
Published 5 months ago by AdamH8sYou
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific!
This is a terrific social commentary on the way that people treat one another and the depths of hurtt they are willing to inflict
Published 6 months ago by carla kidney
5.0 out of 5 stars love it
it is one of my favorite movies since i was a child and really wnated it for my DVD collection. the product came in in good condition and my young sis watches it almost everyday. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Jeovani
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome, Quirky Movie
A hilarious, witty, and sometimes depressing look at the life of a (female) social outcast in middle school. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Abused Muse
5.0 out of 5 stars bought it for my mom for christmas
this was not a movie i expected to like but was funny. i bought it for my mom for christmas because she says she loved it and i watched and it was funny
Published 13 months ago by Amanda M. Lewis
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