Director: Todd Solondz
Stars: Heather Matarazzo, Victoria Davis, Christina Brucato, Christina Vidal
It's impossible not to relate to the preteen outcast. Even the bullies and popular girls of middle school seem to look back on those years as the dark ages. We were all losers. Which probably explains why the indie film Welcome to the Dollhouse was such a hit.
The film follows the awkward and bespectacled Dawn (Heather Matarazzo), a seventh grader with no friends, a family who either drives her insane or doesn't pay attention to her at all, and a "boyfriend" who only becomes her boyfriend because of his repeated attempts to force himself on her (but he turns out to be a nice kid, we guess). In general, the flick walks the fine line between tragedy and comedy, much like everyone's seventh-grade year.
And, proving to be the most accurate coming-of-age tale we've got on our list, there's no real "happy ending" for Dawn. Her only solace is the fact that she made it through another school year and gets to have three months away before she's forced to do it all over again in eighth grade. Real life hurts.—TA