Synopsis by Josh Ralske
Palindromes opens with the dedication, "In loving memory of Dawn Wiener," a reference to the lead character in writer/director Todd Solondz' early feature, Welcome to the Dollhouse. Aviva has just attended Dawn's funeral. Dismayed by her older cousin's untimely death, Aviva asks her mother (Ellen Barkin) for assurance that she won't grow up to be like Dawn. Aviva only dreams of one thing -- having babies. Lots and lots of babies. As a teen, while Aviva has no interest in sex, she eagerly loses her virginity to Judah (Robert Agri), the son of a family friend in hopes of getting pregnant. She does, but her mother insists that she have an abortion. Worse yet, due to a complication during the procedure, the doctor is forced to perform a hysterectomy. Unaware of her medical condition, Aviva runs away from home and is picked up by a truck driver (Stephen Adly Guirgis) who has his way with her and then abandons her at a roadside motel. She wanders in the wilderness until she meets up with Jiminy (Tyler Maynard), a friendly boy who lives with the "Sunshine Family," a group of disabled kids cared for by the cheerful Mama Sunshine (Debra Monk). The kids are also a Christian singing group. Aviva is happy until she learns that Mama Sunshine and her husband are virulently anti-abortion and that they are planning to murder a doctor. Solondz cast eight different actors in the lead role, each of whom play Aviva at different points in the story. Matthew Faber reprises the role of Mark Wiener from Welcome to the Dollhouse. Palindromes was shot at Bard College in upstate New York, using many film students as crew. It was selected by the Film Society of Lincoln Center for inclusion in the 2004 New York Film Festival.
born-again, Christian-music, mother, pregnancy, teen-pregnancy