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USA: Wellspring Media
UK: Tartan Films
Cast: Matthew Faber, Angela Pietropinto, Bill Buell, Emani Sledge, Ellen Barkin, Valerie Shusterov, Richard Masur, Hillary B Smith, Danton Stone, Robert Agri, Hannah Freiman, Stephen Singer, Rachel Corr, Stephen Adly Guirgis, Will Denton, Sharon Wilkins, Alexander Brickel, Ashleigh Hertzig, Risa Jaz Rifkind, Dontae Huey, Debra Monk, Walter Bobbie, Tyler Maynard, Courtney Walcott, Joshua Eber, Khush Kirpalani, Sydney Matuszak, David Castro, Richard Riehle, Shayna Levine, Ebrahim Jaffer, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Andrea Demosthenes, John Gemberling
Director: Todd Solondz
USA & UK: 100 mins
UK Certificate: 15 contains moderate sex references and mature themes
USA Release Date: 6 May 2005 (Limited Release - wider)
USA Release Date: 29 April 2005 (Limited Release - wider)
USA Release Date: 13 April 2005 (Limited Release)
UK Release Date: 6 May 2005
Writer / director Todd Solondz has made his reputation by creating a gallery of suburban icons of ostracism: think Dawn Wiener from WELCOME TO THE DOLLHOUSE, Dr. Maplewood from HAPPINESS, and Consuelo from STORYTELLING. In his latest film PALINDROMES, we find the work of a more mature artist who is clearly savoring the profound flavor of moral complexity.
PALINDROMES is a fable of innocence: 13 year-old Aviva Victor wants to be a Mom. She does all she can to make this happen, and comes very close to succeeding, but in the end her plan is thwarted by her sensible parents (Ellen Barkin and Richard Masur). So she runs away, still determined to get pregnant one way or another, but instead finds herself lost in another world, a less sensible one, perhaps, but one pregnant itself with all sorts of strange possibility. Like so many trips, this one is round-trip, and it's hard to say in the end if she can ever be quite the same again, or if she can ever be anything but the same again.
Barkin, who hasn't seemed so eerily at home as a mother since THIS BOY'S LIFE, gives an unyielding performance as a suburban woman trying to protect her daughter from the same suicidal demise of her cousin Dawn Wiener. The film also features jaw-dropping performances from Debra Monk, Stephen Adly-Guirgus, Jennifer Jason Leigh and seven different and equally brilliant, risk-taking actors of different ages, races and sizes to play our young heroine.
We imagine people will be tempted to take the actions by Aviva, her mother, and the adults Aviva meets on her journey as some kind of glib comment on the contemporary American moral landscape, but this would be a mistake. An official selection at the 2004 Telluride, Toronto, Venice and New York Film Festivals, PALINDROMES may be Solondz' most political and philosophical film yet, but in many ways it is also his most tender.