Directed by: Todd Solondz
Starring: Shayna Levine (Aviva), Sharon Wilkins (‘Mama Sunshine’ Aviva), Jennifer Jason Leigh (‘Mark’ Aviva), Will Denton (‘Huckleberry’ Aviva), Hannah Freiman (‘Henry’ Aviva), Ellen Barkin (Mom), Matthew Faber (Mark)
Country: United States
Language: English (English subs)
Genres: Teensploitation, Misery, Family, Old-Young, Religion
Plot – Spoilers:
Palindromes is sort of related to Welcome to the Dollhouse in that, some of the characters from it appear and are referenced here. Also, Aviva in Palindromes is a cousin of the Wiener kids.
Aviva is a depressed teen who walks around with headphones playing self-esteem lectures. Her mother is emotionally unstable while also wanting the best for her, which makes it hard for Aviva to fight her. The only things Aviva likes about life involve babies and she can’t wait to get one. So when she visits a family friend, she gets into bed with a boy there just to get pregnant. From here, things go further downhill as Aviva finds the little joys that were left being systematically sucked away.
Aviva is played by different actors who physically vary in colour, race, size and even gender. This makes every sequential experience that Aviva goes through, unique and jarring.
Why have different actors been used in Palindromes to play the one character of Aviva? The answer probably lies in the little talk Aviva has with Mark towards the end where he tells her that people don’t essentially change. So though you might be different people at different points in your life, they keep interchanging and returning. Also right at the end when Aviva says she has a feeling this time she’s “gonna be a mom”, the version of Aviva that says this is the one we started off with.