Guest post by Kelly Millspaugh
Bio: Office Manager at Formstack. Addicted to coffee and discovering new music. I prefer cold weather and speak sarcasm fluently.
Teenagers, secrets, and a night of debauchery? Think you've 'been there done that'? Well, you're wrong in this case. "Dollhouse'', conceived and directed by Kirsten Sheridan, definitely breaks the mold with this emotional and mysterious film. The script was more of an outline that allowed the actors to improvise and discover their characters over time. This gives the film a natural ebb and flow that at times feels uncomfortable in the right ways. The emotions are too real, and the reactions are too natural. Those of us used to guessing what happens next are left with dumbfounded expressions by final act.
The film takes place in a wealthy suburb in Ireland. Five teenagers enter a house and quickly begin what appears to be their normal routine of drinking, drugs, and destruction. One of the teens behaves differently, treating the house and it's decor with respect. Eventually one of her friends discovers a box of pictures of her in the dining room, it's her house. This revelation coupled with the appearance of the "boy next door" begins a roller coaster of highs and lows, literally and figuratively.
The lack of a script makes for some confusion and awkward moments, and moments of true tension and anger. Different elements are thrown into the mix every time you think you know where things are going. The common elements of teen dramas of the past are definitely mixed in. At times I felt I was watching a modern day "The Breakfast Club", only take them out of detention and put them in a house full of booze and drugs. One of my favorite aspects of the film were the song choices. Notably Lose Your Soul by Dead Man's Bones, a fantastic band fronted by Ryan Gosling, and an eerie cover of Pure Imagination by the National Performing Arts School. These songs captured the feel of the film perfectly and added to the mystery.
Watching "Dollhouse" is a little bit like becoming a teenager again for 95 minutes. Watching their emotions seamlessly transition from happy to manic and then to anger. At times you think they may physically harm one another, and in other moments you expect them to give in to feelings of lust and attraction. Ultimately "Dollhouse" is a film that raises more questions than it answers, but takes the viewer on a ride that leaves you wondering and attempting to fill in the blanks.
Kirsten Sheridan 2012
Categories: Featured, World Cinema Features
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The 9th annual Indianapolis International Film Festival features more than 100 films in 10 days. July 19-29 at IMA and Earth House. See the entire 2012 line up!