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Palindromes

Released: 2004

Genre: Drama

Runtime: 1 hr 40 min

MPAA Rating: NR

Director: Todd Solondz

Starring: Ellen Barkin, Richard Masur, Matthew Faber, Angela Pietropinto, Bill Buell, Emani Sledge, Valerie Shusterov, Hannah Freiman, Will Denton

A teenager sets out on a journey to get herself pregnant.

A challenging film you won’t soon forget.

Review by: MiamiMovieCritic

Added: 10 years ago

Palindromes is director Todd Solondz’s most experimental work to date. It didn’t hit me as hard as Welcome to the Dollhouse or Happiness, but I admire the film’s bravery and unblinking humanity.

Solondz cast eight different actors (six girls, one boy and Jennifer Jason Leigh) to play Aviva, a young teenager who wants just one thing in life: to make a baby. Her mother forces her to get an abortion that goes horribly wrong, making her unable to conceive again. But Aviva doesn’t know this, so she sets off on a bizarre journey to get pregnant again.

The most surreal part of the movie is when Aviva stays at Mama Sunshine’s house. Mama Sunshine is a right-wing Christian who nonetheless shows unconditional kindness by taking in children nobody else wants. The Christian musical number these kids perform has to be seen to be believed.

Palindromes (a word for something that’s spelled the same backwards and forwards, like Aviva) tackles many of the same themes as Solondz’s other films, but this is probably his most important work because it explores the issue of abortion in such a fearless, nonjudgmental way. The actors who play Aviva are all extraordinary, and the film’s visual and narrative scope is remarkable given its microscopic budget. A challenging film you won’t soon forget.

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