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Palindromes [2004] [DVD]

Price: £19.03 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Palindromes [2004] [DVD] + Storytelling [DVD] [2001] + Happiness [DVD] [1999]
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Product details

  • Actors: Ellen Barkin, Richard Masur, Matthew Faber, Angela Pietropinto, Bill Buell
  • Directors: Todd Solondz
  • Producers: Mike S. Ryan, Derrick Tseng
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Subtitles For The Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Tartan
  • DVD Release Date: 26 Sep 2005
  • Run Time: 100 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0009M9FA0
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 74,946 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Controversial coming-of-age drama from director Todd Solondz. After attending her cousin's funeral, 13-year-old Aviva (played by eight different actors over the course of the story) determines to have as many children as possible, outraging her conservative parents Joyce (Ellen Barkin) and Steve (Richard Masur). Getting pregnant in one random encouter, Aviva is forced into having an abortion that leaves her sterile. Running away from home, she finds herself in the company of a strange, fanatically anti-abortion religious group planning to murder a doctor.

Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The film opens with an eulogy to Dawn Weiner, the central character in Stolonz’ 'Welcome to the Dollhouse', and makes a number of references to events in his earlier film. However that’s where the connection ends for Palindromes then focuses on Aviva, Dawns cousin. Having jumped ‘some years later.’ Aviva and her family visit friends where she meets the sex obsessed Judah and Aviva immediately admits all she wants is a baby. Less than 10 minutes into the film they end up fumbling about in bed. It’s a disaster and they blame one another. Then it’s on to Henry [who we never see]. Ellen Barkin takes a role change as the distraught mom who insists the pregnant Aviva has an abortion. It all goes wrong and Aviva runs away. The film then follows her journey of discovery as the strange and wonderful people she meets all try to influence the young girls choices.
The film is high on symbolism and is broken down into sections –rather than scenes, In each section Aviva changes character –no not acting style but actually appears as a different person changing from a black girl to white, from chubby to slim, from pre teen to late teen, tall to short reflecting the fact that things may appear different but like the Palindrome it’s the same however you look at it –you have to see it to understand it. It’s not nice viewing by any means and is sure to enrage some and upset others, but it is bold and thought provoking from Mama Sunshines houseful of disabled children to the anti abortion pro lifers who actually plan an assassination! [I won’t say if they carry it out or not –well you gotta have some mystery]. Yep it’s bizarre but never smutty.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Jenny J.J.I. on 25 Nov 2007
Format: DVD
Recommended to me by my dark, mysterious, and intellectual friend Chris Blackshere, I still found myself shivering of the affects of this film. I found the characters to be deeply emotional, at times disturbing yet oddly enough neither attractive nor repulsive. If you were offended by "The Woodsman"...then seeing this film would not be advised. "The Woodsman" largely hinted at things...and seldom "went there." This film not only "goes there," but on a certain level normalizes it. I sincerely doubt any abuse survivor with unresolved issues could see this film without becoming upset. Likewise, I doubt that any person with a physical challenge/disability could see this film without being irritated...both of these things are sad, in my eyes, because what Solondz does really well is not judge the process...he presents his characters in an every day way because they are part of everyday life.

All of these characters are deeply human...wounded souls...some do wonderful things for selfish reasons, some do horrible things for noble reasons...others seem to merely survive. There are a number of standout performances, and there are other performances where you look at the screen and are trying to figure out "Is that on purpose?" For example, the opening "Aviva" is a young African-American actress of probably 9 or 10...quite honestly, she's a rather horrid actress who appears to be reading lines off the cue card...while she looks adorable...well, her delivery was simply awkward...and yet, as time went on, I found this characterization balancing wonderfully with the others...perhaps the most powerful portrayal is offered by the "Mama Sunshine" Aviva...portrayed by Sharon Wilkins, a large African-American female...older, and clearly not a child...clearly not innocent...
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15 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Martin A Hogan HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on 16 Nov 2005
Format: DVD
Director Todd Stolonz has always made controversial films (“Storytelling”, “Welcome To The Dollhouse”, Happiness”). This time the controversy is simply about a girl that wants to have a baby ever since she could talk. Stolonz always has a trick up his sleeve and this time, Aviva, a young girl is portrayed by several different actresses at different ages. They are small, big, white, black, freckle-faced, skinny, fat, you name it. It’s confusing at first until you realize that ‘perhaps’ Stolonz is using them as a universal theme. No matter. The acting is amazing, in that some characters are banally subtle and others are manically intense. From a middle class home with normal parents to an extended family of adopted children with disabilities, “Palidromes” never allows you to lose interest. Aviva is on her own road trip and encounters all kinds of people with many different opinions. It’s not as good as “Happiness” or “Storytelling” but it’s worth viewing.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Ernie TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 4 July 2010
Format: DVD
The plot of 'Palindromes' revolves around a twelve year old girl named Aviva. Young Aviva has always wanted to be a mother and soon enough manages to get herself pregnant. After being forced by her parents into having an abortion she runs away, and on her journey she meets a number of strange characters, some of which help her decide what she wants to do with her life and how she should live it.
The story is broken into different segments and the character of Aviva is played by a number of different actresses of varying ages throughout the course of the film, all playing the part of a twelve year old girl, although strangely enough this doesn't detract from the actual story. As with his previous films, 'Welcome To The Dollhouse', 'Happiness' and 'Storytelling', writer and director Todd Solondz deals with issues that don't always make for comfortable viewing, and 'Palindromes' isn't an exception.
Overall, it's an incredibly interesting, bold, dark humoured and thought provoking film, which cleverly manages to push all sorts of emotional buttons, and while not a direct sequel to his debut 'Welcome to the Dollhouse', 'Palindromes' features several characters and many references to events in his earlier film. So if you've not seen 'Welcome To The Dollhouse', it might be helpful to watch it first before seeing this.
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