Todd Solondz (October 15, 1959) is a renowned screenwriter and independent American film director. Known for his dark and reflective satires on society, Solondz has been praised for his exploration of “the dark weaknesses of the American middle class periferica”, a reflection of their own experiences in New Jersey.[ 2 ] His works include the cult hit Welcome to the Dollhouse, the award-winning Happiness, Storytelling and Palindromes.


Initially, Solondz I consider the possibility of becoming a Rabbi, but finally opted for the writing. He wrote several while working as a delivery boy for Writers Guild of America.

Solondz earned his graduate in English from Yale University and attended a course in fine arts (cinema and television) at the University of New York, but did not graduate.

At the beginning of the 1990s, he worked as a teacher of English as second language for newcomers, Russian immigrants in a shelter located in New York (he worked alongside Alexander Gelman, Gary Shteyngart and Roman Turovsky-Savchuk, experience which he described as very gratifying (in one of his films, Happiness, one of the characters, Joy, a similar experience it is traumatica).

Solondz is currently an adjunct professor in the school of Arts of University of New York, where he teaches management and film writing.

Early work

One of his first short films was Schatt’s Last Shot, made in 1985. The main character is a high school that wants to join the Stanford University, but his gym teacher hates him and not lucky with the girl of his dreams. The short was seen, but has been screened at film schools.

In 1989, Solondz wrote and directed Fear, Anxiety & Depression, a comedy about a rookie playwright IRA (played by Solondz), and their furstrantes interactions with the opposite sex. The narrative structure separate episodes and casual relationship with the “fourth wall” somewhat resemble Annie Hall, and the neurotic and uncomfortable (that also used glasses) protagonist is assimilated to many of the roles of Woody Allen. Since the way write Solondz considerably changed after this film, little resembles his following works, except for its inhospitable perspective of the world and how harmful such as suicide and rape situations humor is created. The film contains several musical, including three songs for the film intervals. Stanley Tucci is making one of his first roles, playing a despised IRA, known as emissao writing by whim and instantly transforms into a feeling of theatres Off-Broadway. Study criticised Solondz for the film and his address in general; as a result, many times is omitted in his official filmography.

Welcome to the Dollhouse

The frustrations of his first feature film carried Solondz leaving aside its relationship with the film industry. More than five years later, a lawyer friend suggested give him another chance to the realization of films. The result was Welcome to the Dollhouse (1995), which took the grand jury prize at the Sundance Film Festival.[ 2 ] It’s a black comedy that follows the steps of Dawn Wiener, a dentuda and shy girl glasses seventh grade in the Institute pestered mercilessly and treated with disdain in his home. Differed from previous films on abuse of adolescents due to its complex characterisation. Portrayed Dawn, the apparent protagonist and antagonist (bully), Brandon, in a comprehensive manner, and history, victim was displayed faulty and cruel by moments. The film was a great success among critics and a moderate box office success.  It was successful also in festivals, being projected worldwide.


His next job was Happiness (1998), a highly controversial film because the topics is from rape to paedophilia, suicide, homicide and a social pervert making phone calls. After being rejected by the original Distributor, October Films, the film ended being launched by Good Machine Releasing. Received numerous awards, including the international critics prize at the Cannes Film Festival, and Solondz was praised by critics.

Storytelling and Palindromes

In 2001, Solondz released Storytelling, which premiered at the Cannes Festival that year.[ 1 ] It is divided into two parts, titled “Fiction” and “No-ficción” film. Two stories shared thematic elements, but try to each in a different way. This format was used because the director wanted to “find a fresh structure, a fresh form and a different way of dealing with what would be a geographically identical material”.Then Solondz presenting the film to the MPAA, told him that if he wished to receive less than R (under 17 years of hearings) classification, should be deleted a sex scene explicit that you included a black man and a white woman. However, due to the clause in the contract of Solondz as censuradores were forced to let the scene with a red box that covers the actors. The director stated: “It is a great victory for me having a big red box, the first red box in a film Studio (…)” “is just in front of yours: is prohibited you see this in our country’’  However, it had to delete a portion of the film (which has been said that it could be a subplot of the second story or a third story) which contained a scene of sensuality involving two male actors (one of whom was James Van Der Beek).

The next film, Palindromes (2004), caused surprise among many experts and critics due to its themes of child molestation and abortion. It is a crossover with Welcome to the Dollhouse, since family Wiener reappears and reveals Dawn Wiener, the protagonist of that film, he committed suicide. The film was largely financed by own Solondz. As all of his previous films, Palindromes is set on the outskirts of New Jersey. In the United States. UU. released without classification.

Life During Wartime

Life During Wartime (formerly known as “Forgiveness”) is the newest film of Solondz. The new movie, Solondz said in an interview in Cannes is partner of Happiness and Welcome to the Dollhouse.[ 6 ] It was also described as “A comedy of black humor of sexual obsession”. With a budget of $ 4.5 million account with actors such as Ally Sheedy, Renee Taylor, Paul Reubens, Chane’t Johnson, Ciaran Hinds, Shirley Henderson, Michael Lerner, Michael Kenneth Williams, Rich Pecci, Charlotte Rampling, Allison Janney and Chris Marquette.

The film debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival in September 2009, and that same year he competed for the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival, where he earned the Osella Award for best screenplay.


‘People will say horrible things about me, and told horrific things from me for a long time. All kinds of epithets: cruel, Misanthrope, cynical, disgusting, and the list continues and continues, and guess what gives me the courage to follow is that I have another group of spectators that serve all the terrible things that people say me counterweight. It is no fun to hear things like that from you. And there’s not much you can do in this regard. I simply attachment to what I feel is truthfulness, the reality that I am creating. I think it is difficult for some people to find a portal, access to the worlds that I am creating. “If you feel trapped, I think that you can return very resentful”.

Todd Solondz, (2005).

Filmography (written and directed)

* Schatt’s Last Shot (1985) (short film)

* Fear, Anxiety & Depression (1989)

* Welcome to the Dollhouse (1995)

* Happiness (1998)

* Storytelling (2001)

* Palindromes (2004)

* Life During Wartime (2009)