todd solondz isn’t for everyone, this is obvious. i think each of his pictures finds him getting more controversial, more focused, more experimental and less funny. i think that happiness and welcome to the dollhouse were his masterpieces – they balanced commentary and humor quite well. storytelling was good, but wasn’t as funny as dollhouse and happiness. palindromes begins with the death of dawn weiner, though we never see her we start in the church at her funeral. it’s done in a documentary style and we see her brother giving his eulogy. the story is about a young girl who was dawn’s cousin. the girl (aviva) is played by eight different actresses throughout the film. i don’t really know what the purpose of this is – the actresses change between segments which are marked by intertitles denoting a person’s name. usually the person is a character the girl meets in the following segment. most of the film finds this girl meeting interesting characters and having some sort of sexual interaction with them. early in the film she states that she wants to have a lot of children because then she’ll always have someone who loves her. throughout the film she quests to get pregnant despite the fact (unknown to her) that she is unable to have a baby because of a botched abortion (which leads to a hysterectomy) that her mother forces her into earlier in the film.
solondz is more explicit in his commentary here than i think he normally is, or, rather, he is more specific. usually his films speak in general terms about social outcasts, but in this film he seems to take on abortion and hypocrisy more pointedly than past topics in his previous films. really, though, his theme is the same – it’s a fucked up, cruel world without any respite.