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Welcome to the Dollhouse Review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 5.0

    out of 100

    Universal acclaim
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 100

    out of 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    But I'm making Welcome to the Dollhouse sound like some sort of grim sociological study, and in fact it's a funny, intensely entertaining film.

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  • 75

    out of 100

    ReelViews James Berardinelli

    In this impressive debut, Solonz doesn't pull any punches in conveying the side of junior high that "The Wonder Years" never depicted: the naked cruelty that some boys and girls suffer at the hands of their classmates, their teachers, and even members of their own family.

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  • 88

    out of 100

    USA Today Mike Clark

    Welcome to the Dollhouse does, with accessible dark comedy and chilling honesty, reminding us right off that school-cafeteria agonies only begin with the cuisine. [24 May 1996 Pg.04.D]

  • 91

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Lisa Schwarzbaum

    But Solondz also creates keen portraits of the participating characters in Dawn's daily drama. (The only downside: The drama veers unsteadily toward outlandishness.)

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For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Iffy for 16+

A dark look at adolescence; not for kids.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this is a dark comedy that deals with a tween's alienation from her classmates and family, and deals explicitly with her resulting feelings of rage. There are many references to sex between teens and tweens, a child abduction, and threats of rape. The plot is so off-beat that most younger teens would find it too weird to hold their interest anyway. This is a bleak film about childhood that will be most appreciated by adults.

  • Families can talk about the many issues related to teenaged alienation that are dealt with here. Why is Dawn treated badly by her classmates? How does the film portray her as being different, visually, from the other characters in the film? The film's depiction of teen sex and drug use offers a good opportunity for families to discuss these issues. Why does Dawn assume that Brandon uses drugs? Would you feel the same way? Is Steve Rodgers's treatment of female characters fair or unfair? Finally, the storyline dealing with child abduction might allow families to talk about right vs. wrong behaviors and feelings. Is Missy's abduction Dawn's fault? How should Dawn have handled that situation differently? Why were Dawn's actions dangerous?

The good stuff
  • message true0

    Messages: One of the themes of the movie is the idea that people who are supposed to be role models frequently are not.

What to watch for
  • violence false3

    Violence: Implied and sexual in nature.

  • sex false3

    Sex: References to teen sex, rape, and child abuse.

  • language false5

    Language: Both adult and child characters use strong language throughout.

  • consumerism false3

    Consumerism: A reference or two, but not overwhelming.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false3

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Teen drug use is referred to and discussed in terms of consequences.