Solondz's trademark acid critique of American glorification of national values so ingrained now in the collective phyche this time through this coming-of-age bittersweet comedy(?). The sweet outsider Dawn looks through the magnifying glass into American society. The cult of unemotional individualism and the bullying against everyone who does not conform to the narrow accepted stereotypes are again common topics here.
It's interesting how someone's future is already quite predictable from the very early years and how one's life, somehow, is partially the result of the way one is being treated. Every kind of attitude be it a bad or a good one, just like energy, is never to vanish, but be reflected in different forms. And to blame the kids for bullying is yet the biggest mistake one can make, because kids are simply what they see.
When I watched this as a teenager, it hit me too hard, because this was about someone who was so very real, and despite being the protagonist, wasn't a hero. Just a normal person, in how relatively shitty they were. The older I get, the more I realize this film is a masterpiece of character study. I need to watch more Todd Solondz.