Cannes Award-Winning Feature: ‘Dollhouse: The Eradication of Female Subjectivity from American Popular Culture’ Review


By: Amanda Guarragi 

The ‘Cannes’ award-winning feature Dollhouse: The Eradication of Female Subjectivity from American Popular Culture is a satirical animated film, that dives deep into the stories of young Hollywood starlets and their treatment throughout the years. It is written, directed and produced by Nicole Brending, who also voices 14 characters in the film. It takes multiple tabloid stories from the lives of Lindsay Lohan and Britney Spears and bluntly addresses the toxic, intrusiveness of the media, when it comes to young teenage girls, being forced into an industry standard.

It is extremely fitting, to have dolls symbolize the conformity of being a starlet in Hollywood and having to essentially become a clone, in order to become accepted by everyone. The first half of this film, explores the sexploitation of young women in the music industry and how they have been mentally abused, by the authoritative presence surrounding them. At the young age of 12, Junie Spoons was cast in the show Candy Castles, which very much resembles the Mickey Mouse Club and it was more of the journey Britney Spears went on at a very early age.

dollhouse 1

Courtesy of Rock Salt Releasing

When taking serious subject matters and presenting them through a different medium, in this case, animation, it is much easier to express honesty in the toxicity of the subject. Brending was so honest in her storytelling and how the media, would always spin the lives of young starlets in a negative manner. The one thing I found worked really well was the depiction of men, through boyband member Zachary Wilderness, whose name oddly resembles Justin Timberlake’s. Bendring presented the journey of Zachary Wilderness, as this perfect fairytale and that’s how young men, are taken care of by the media in the industry.

The juxtaposition of the two, was really eye opening, especially because young starlets like Miley Cyrus and Demi Lovato, have been very outspoken about the treatment of women in the industry, specifically child stars. It is very well written and uses major tabloid stories, that viewers still remember to this day. It was hard to watch because of how in depth the film went into Britney Spears and her downward spiral, especially considering how much we know now. It was necessary to make a film like this, in all of it’s nastiness, while addressing the faux journalism that takes place when taking control of these narratives.

news

Courtesy of Rock Salt Releasing 

The film does lose its way in the third act with a surprise storyline. There was a storyline that was placed at the end involving a transgender character and I think that’s where it lost its way a bit. It was difficult to understand why this storyline came up towards the end and I tried to find the symbolism behind it. It seemed that it was symbolic, in wanting to achieve perfection and the media’s idea of perfection, is the look of a young Hollywood star. This ideal is so incredibly damaging, that it leads to many eating disorders and plastic surgeries gone wrong. It still doesn’t make the case, as to why the sexual identity comes into play at the end but it’s definitely up for interpretation.

Dollhouse: The Eradication of Female Subjectivity from American Popular Culture is a film that allows viewers to understand and interpret how poorly treated these young girls are. They are exploited sexually, forced to grow up in a toxic environment and treated as a possession, until they are old enough to understand how authority figures abused their power over them. Nicole Brending does excellent work in delivering this subject matter with such brutal honesty, that the film should be studied for years to come.

Liebster Award Nomination

This morning I woke up to find out, that I was nominated by Film: Uncharted EIF for a Liebster Award. I am truly grateful for the time you have taken to read my reviews and am honoured by the nomination!

Without further ado, the official rules of the competition are as follows:

  1. Thank the nominator in your award post.
  2. Place the award logo somewhere on your blog.
  3. You must state up to 11 facts about yourself.
  4. Complete the questions that your nominator provided.
  5. Nominate as many bloggers as you’d like (11 is the maximum).
  6. Ask your nominees a series of questions (11 is the maximum).

Facts

  1. I consider myself a full Italian, even though I was born and raised in Canada. 
  2. I was a musical theatre junkie growing up and I even starred in stage plays.
  3. I went to a Regional Arts Program in high school for Theatre. 
  4. I have been to Las Vegas and New York over 4 times now.
  5. I am an only child. 
  6. I am an arachnophobe.
  7. The Aviator (2004) was the very first film that made me fall in love with everything that goes into making a film.
  8. I have attended TIFF for the past seven years and each year is better than the last. 
  9. My favourite dish to make is Risotto, love mixing it up a bit.
  10. I fractured my nose when I was 4 and now it’s crooked but you can’t really tell, only I can, which is somehow worse.
  11. Michael Jackson’s Thriller music video still haunts me until this day.

Questions:

1. If you could have dinner with anyone from history, who would it be?

I would love to have dinner with Marilyn Monroe and Charlie Chaplin because they represent two, very different eras, in the industry and I would love to find out how they coped with the politics during their given period.

2. What would be on the gag reel of your life?

I have fallen way too many times. I think falling of a skateboard or a bike would most definitely be on there. I also think falling from the top bunk bed while playing hide and seek would also be on there for a gag reel.

3. Which fictional character would be the most boring to meet in real life?

I think Harry Potter would be boring in real life. I mean, without all the Voldermort drama, he really is just a dude who does magic and he can’t do magic in front of muggles (assuming I am one), so really, is he all that he’s cracked up to be?

4. If you could read minds, whose would you want to read?

I would love to read Martin Scorsese’s mind. He’s a walking encyclopedia of film knowledge and I think it would be fun to hear his actual thoughts while watching other movies.

5. What problem or situation did TV / movies make you think would be common, but when you grew up you found out it wasn’t?

I think house parties were the biggest myth, I was so disappointed when I got to high school, to find out that it’s mainly just sitting around and talking. It’s actually more awkward than anything they painted it out to be.

6. Do you judge a book by its cover?

I think everyone does at first but then they do attempt to get to know others and that’s what changes their perception of them. Rumours and gossip also tends to ruin the perception as well. I personally don’t, I like to look at things on my own terms and try to assess things from the inside out.

7. What wastes the most time in your day to day life?

Twitter, I’m looking at you.

8. What’s the one food you could never bring yourself to eat?

I have stayed away from horseradish my whole life because I hate the smell.

9. If your life as a movie, what songs would be on the soundtrack?

Vanessa Carlton – A Thousand Miles
Thunderstruck – AC/DC
Independent Women Part. 1 – Destiny’s Child
Love Shack – The B-52s
Giulia – DJ Lhasa
Gloria – Laura Branigan
Pour Some Sugar On Me – Def Leppard

10. What terrible movie do you love?

Since Adam Sandler is universally hated for some reason, I’m going to go with Billy Madison (1995), that movie is a classic and I love it so much.

11. If you had to live in a different country, what would it be?

Italia, always.

Nominees:

  1. Eddie Harrison – Film Authority 
  2. Jordan and Eddie – The Movie Guys
  3. Leo – Geekly Goods
  4. Shawn and Todd – Movies Matrix 

Questions: 

  1. Name one film that you would watch on repeat for the rest of your life?
  2. What are your Top 3 Best Picture Winners
  3. Name one film that is critically acclaimed but you just didn’t get the hype?
  4. What was your favourite childhood film?
  5. What is your favourite movie theatre snack?
  6. How many films have you watched in a single day?
  7. What is the one place that you’ve always wanted to travel to?
  8. What are the Top 5 films you would recommend to someone?
  9. What is your go to comfort film?
  10. If you could be in any comedy film, which one would you be in and why?
  11. If you watch one director’s filmography for the rest of your life, whose would you choose?

 

Have fun!