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Palindromes movie poster
Directed by Todd Solondz
Produced by Mike S. Ryan,
Derrick Tseng
Written by Todd Solondz
Starring Ellen Barkin
Matthew Faber
Rachel Corr
Music by Nathan Larson
Cinematography Tom Richmond
Editing by Mollie Goldstein
Kevin Messman
Distributed by Wellspring Media
Release date(s) September 3, 2004
Running time 100 mins
Country  United States
Language English

Palindromes is a 2004 comedy-drama film written and directed by Todd Solondz. In the same year it was released, Palindromes was nominated for a Golden Lion award at the Venice Film Festival.

The protagonist, a 13-year-old girl named Aviva, is played by eight different actors (of different ages, races, and genders) during the course of the film. Palindromes also features an array of secondary characters. The names of the characters Aviva, Bob, and Otto are all palindromes.



The movie opens with a funeral for a young woman. The person who has died is Dawn Wiener, the main character from Solondz's film Welcome to the Dollhouse, who went to college, gained a lot of weight, and committed suicide. Her brother Mark (Matthew Faber, reprising his role) reads the eulogy while Dawn's tearful parents sit in the audience. (Solondz had asked the original actress Heather Matarazzo to return to the role; however, she declined.)

Aviva is her cousin who desires to have a child. She has sex with Judah, a family friend, and becomes pregnant. Aviva's parents are horrified and demand she get an abortion. While technically successful, in her dazed state it is implied via a fractured, emotional conversation with the doctor that Aviva can no longer have children. Not fully conscious, Aviva is unaware of this, and her parents, already fragile, lead her to believe all is well when she awakens, afraid to upset Aviva.

Aviva runs away from home. She befriends a trucker and has sex with him. However, the trucker abandons her at a motel. She is eventually found by the Sunshine Family, a Christian fundamentalist foster home that cares for orphans and runaways. She tells them her name is Henrietta—the name she picked for the baby she was persuaded to abort.

While at the Sunshine Family home she discovers a dark side to the foster father; he is a murderer of abortion providers. His next target is the doctor who performed Aviva's abortion. The hitman who the foster father uses is the same trucker Aviva previously befriended and had sex with.

Convinced she is in love with the truck driver, she flees the Sunshine Family to join him on his assignment. The murder does not go as planned as, in addition to the doctor himself, the trucker (whose name is revealed to be Bob) ends up accidentally shooting the doctor's young daughter when she steps in front of the first shot. The police find Bob and Aviva both in a motel room, and Bob commits suicide by cop.

The movie then skips ahead to Aviva back home with her parents, planning her next birthday party. During the party, she talks to her cousin Mark Wiener, who has recently been accused of molesting a baby. Mark denies having done it but the film never reveals whether he did it or not. Then the film skips ahead to Aviva meeting Judah, who now calls himself Otto, and them having sex again. Once again, Aviva believes she is pregnant and is happy about it, though the viewer knows she in fact will never have children.


The film currently holds a 43% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes



  • Lullaby (Aviva's and Henrietta's Theme)
  • Up on a Cloud
  • Piano Concerto No.1 in B Flat Major, Op.23
  • Nobody Jesus but You
  • Fight for the Children
  • Doctor Dan
  • Love Turned Blue
  • Somebody Loved
  • This Is the Way

See also


External links

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