Putrid, Any Way You Read It
Release Date: April 13, 2005
Starring: Ellen Barkin, Debra Monk,
Jennifer Jason Leigh, Richard
Masur, and Stephen
Genre: Black Comedy/Satire
Rating: Not Rated
Runtime: 100 minutes
Distributor: Wellspring Media
Director: Todd Solondz
Executive Producer: None
Producer: Mike S. Ryan and Derrick Tseng
Writer: Todd Solondz
Address Comments To:Wellspring Media, Inc.
419 Park Avenue South
New York, NY 10016
Phone: (212) 686-6777
Fax: (212) 545-9931
In this one, a 13-year-old girl named Aviva expresses to her mother her wish to have a baby. Her mother gives the appropriate positive response, but then Aviva lets a teenage boy fornicate with her after he watches pornography. Enraged, her mother forces the poor, misguided girl to get an abortion, which ends badly. Aviva runs away (still seeking to get pregnant though she no longer can do so) and gets sexually involved with an older truck driver, who eventually gets killed by the police. Aviva also takes up with a family of Christians, who adopt children, including handicapped ones, and use them to form a youth singing group to preach against the evils of abortion.
The premise of PALINDROMES is murky at best, so murky in fact that some people who have seen it at film festivals think the movie presents a balanced view of the abortion issue, but others, including MOVIEGUIDE® and the star, Ellen Barkin (with whom we spoke briefly at the Telluride Film Festival), think the arch tone of the piece ultimately makes Christian pro-life people look silly and stupid, if not exploitative. The movie also seems to mock the desire of young girls to become mothers (nothing is said, of course, about girls getting married before they become pregnant).
Be that as it may, the director has different people, including a heavyweight black girl, play Aviva. This decision is perplexing at best, and extremely pretentious at worst. More disturbing than this, however, is the apparent fact that the movie seems to make light of pedophilia and teenage sex. As such, the movie seems to represent the director’s own rape fantasies of pedophilia. Clearly, the filmmakers don’t have much moral, spiritual or psychological discernment, which goes right along with their lack of any kind of sensible, uplifting aesthetic judgment. Judging by the director’s last two movies, STORYTELLING and HAPPINESS, this media-wise judgment about him is becoming etched in solid granite.
Let us pray that the film festival circuit will stop supporting this man’s warped sense of cinema, until he repents and shows he can do something more conventional and less pretentious. There ought to be a law about young filmmakers. They should first show they can be successful at making a conventional genre movie for broad audiences before they start wildly experimenting with quirky, obtuse stories, weird characters, and sensational content for the jaded festival circuit.
A palindrome is something that reads the same backwards as well as forwards. PALINDROMES is putrid, no matter how you read it.
PALINDROMES is a humanist satire that mocks Christians and the pro-life movement and makes light of pedophilia and teenage sex. The premise of PALINDROMES is murky, and the director has seven different actors portray Aviva. This last decision is perplexing at best, and extremely pretentious at worst. Clearly, the filmmakers don’t have much moral, spiritual or psychological discernment, which goes right along with their lack of aesthetic judgment. A palindrome is something that reads the same backwards as well as forwards. PALINDROMES is putrid, any way you read it.