ByMatt Cannon, writer at
Film buff, musician, and occasional writer.
Matt Cannon

This not-so-short list chronically explores Todd Solondz's sardonic vision of reality that makes his work virtually and un-mistakingly diverse from other independents. "So far, at least, I haven't found a way to tell my kind of stories without making them both sad and funny", says Solondz. A quietly vocal but calculating voice who burrows his sadly comedic vision of suburban modernism, challenging our sympathy at every corner. His films are etched with hopeless underdogs desperately grabbing for contentment. Wether Solondz is exposing harsh notions of childhood, love, change, abortion, war, rape, loneliness, and failure. In the end, it's the brutal and hopeless nature of human interactions that makes his work all the more real. He finds a way to unearth a human heart at the core of his inhabitants, and even finding pathos in the monsters in disguised. With a disappointing brush failing as a musician, writing unsuccessful plays, and as a errand boy for the Writers Guild, and making (as Solondz regretfully puts it) his first embarrassing full length feature, "Fear, Anxiety, and Depression with some short films in his pocket, specifically his alienated youth musical, Feelings

Solondz dives less into idea than the need to tell from the basis of maturity. The concept of "writing what we know" is taking far beyond dramatic boundaries in his films. "My films were never meant to shock, it was just something compelling about the characters that moved me". Solondz's films can never be put in a show-off catergory of didactic filmmaking, he never picks sides in his writing, pro-life and pro-choice, anti-war or pro-war, art or anti-art to him, success and failure, each is valid. His films truthfully and painfully discover what it is like to find a soul in the disposed and desperate. The great challenge is to see how far your sympathy will go. Now let's take you on that challenge.

Welcome to the Dollhouse (1995)

Solondz's first first feature was his failed attempt Fear, Anxiety, and Depression. A story about a amature playwriter and his love interest with a hip artist, it would be a life lesson for the young auture. This would lead to Solondz first feature (one that would have to truly mark his first, but it was valid not to include it in the list) took a long hard look at a bleak, but boldly comical playroom where it's anything but child's play. Dawn Weiner is a eleven year old outcast dealing with the horrors and frustrations of junior high. Living in a endless hell with her frustrated mother, her prissy but sinister little sister, and her fickle nerdish older brother. To make matters more complicated, her puppy love interest for the sexual provocative lead singer from her Brothers' band, sends her head over heels to win his affection, she just has to break free of a violently emotional school bully who threatens her feelings for escape.

Although, this wouldn't be the coming-of-age type of story that we are used too. Solondz has had a connecting line in portraying adolecence as a major subject of his work, representing the curious and sometime dangerous. For Dawn, the massive weight in expectance for adulthood thrusts into her life. Even things seeming innocent can be as threatening as a gun to the head, the claustrophobic lunchroom with dangers at every corner. (Roger Ebert said in a review to describe that scene as a "minefield", wow.), It's seems Dawn has missed the boat to adolescence. Dawn finds herself taking her frustrations out at hone on Missy, calling her a Lesbo without meaning, but to retaliate. Everyone is in a retaliate mode from Dawn's frustration. (Her welding a hammer over her sweetly sleeping sister) her brothers struggle with his future life in college swearing off girls to concentrate his path, (answering Dawns question concerning sex, "are you kidding, I want to get into a good school" ) Brandon deals with his misunderstandings in a different way than Dawn, but they both find their frustration to be a source of communication, something real comes out of it, Brandon feels pain and sees Dawn as someone to vent it, even if thier love is a source of it. Dollhouse would be a statement of frustration, terror and anger for future sake.

Her attention is made clear by Brandon who abandons her in the finale to run away, leaving Dawn on a sour note. Dawn is certain that things won't change. It is Dawn's longing that plays her as a tragic character. Her tragic love for Steve, the hunk lead singer, ends in realization, and yet another despairing situation for the lonely protagonist. Brandon, the school bully, ends up to be not to far off from Dawn herself. The fact she survives through the film to it end is mesmerizing. You could call this a survival film at it core. The film closes on Dawn, sitting on the bus, as she singing a school anthem the sound drowns out around her until she is the only on to be heard, a view of her everlasting loneliness, but as a endurance, as well. Solondz doesn't find much hope for Dawn. Nothing much has changed for her; even though she endures, the road to adulthood has just begun.

Solondz went on to winning the Jury Prize at The Cannes Film Festival in 1996 for Dollhouse. The film gained him a interest to follow up on his next project that would defy his work to another level on the clumsy and defiant trials on societal desires.

Happiness (1998)

Dostoyevsky said, "Man only likes to count his troubles; he doesn't calculate his happiness.” The same could be said in Solondz's sorrowful and painfully humorous portrayal of the Jordan clan in crisis. The apology should be made as there might not be that much hope. Joy Jordan, a shy but hopless dreamer, with bad luck on her side, falls for a shady Russian exchange student. Trish Jordan, the level headed middle class wife to her psychiatrist Husband, Bill, who harbours a preditorial desire for his son's friend, Jimmy. Trish's son, Billy, and his fearful curiosity dealing with his failure to ever have a orgasm, or understand it. Helene Jordan, who has the beauty and success, but troubled as a writer on her subject of rape, but finds hope for her materiel in her stalkish and perverted neighbor, Allen, who covets in the corner of his bed stripped down to his tight underwear with a yellow pages in one lap, and a shaky hand with a phone in the other, dialing random numbers to women, and gets off by hearing thier voices over the line. Mis-communication would find a way into Solondz's work, but it would be the failure the binds his characters, even though people might find it shocking on the surface, communication would be the one thing they can never do equally.

Even though there was the opportunity for Solondz after Dollhouse to create another project, Todd has always stuck as a realist, who like Cassavetess, has a strong urge to work outside the Hollywood system. Producer Ted Hope, was solely responsible for some of America's flux of independent films of the mid 90's, latched onto Solondz for Happiness. Backing the director and writer with the production company Good Machine (affiliated to New Line Cinema) As ambitious as a gamble, the project was green lighted. The relationship of Solondz and Hope remains strong to this day. Even though this film is anything but rightfully happy, it is still one of his most popular and most debated films to date.

Solondz has firmly latched on to the idea of hopelessness in his work. Staring down the influence of society or culture consumerist expectations; and the anxiety of true contentment, or the fear to be truly happy. Happiness gaurds to that theme wholeheartedly, but not without honesty at its center. It's more like a artificial happiness at it negated and desperate form of self-delusion. The coquettish nature of Bill and Allen are ruled by the limitations of happiness and it's reality; The psychiatrist Bill Maplewood barley listens to Allen fantasizes about his attractive neighbor and anialiating her with his semen in violent descriptions, while Bill (ironically describing it to his psychiatrist) fantasizes about unloading a semi-automatic onto the content society. The execution here of happiness itself seems as safe as dancing with a bear trap. There is a level of destruction and sexual anxiety playing out between the many characters. The opening's is the most concentrated explosion detonated by Andy, who without reluctance, jerks back a gold plated ashtray from Joy's hands to give her the searing words "because this is for the woman who loves me, not for what I look like. Because I'm champagne, and your shit, and until the day you die, you will always be shit". Now if that isn't destruction to depletion. Joy has sex with on of her Russian exchange students, Melosh. Then next day, she walks into her work with a radiant and careless presence, even greating the vegetable wheeling strikers with a smile. Joy's fantasy fling with Melosh is brought to disappointment when she find him to be nothing more than a petty thief, destroying her ideal of hope for love. Her fault was feeling the reality of sex over art, but the main drive here is still sex. It's a fatalistic view for a culture based society is sex, even if we use art to get it. This is also something Solondz would include in his next film Palindromes. Allen's obese and lonley neighbor, Kristina, harbors a similar vendetta when she kills a door man who tries to rape her. She confess this to Allen in a restaurant, describing the incident with her distaste for the act of sex. Even though she is defensive in all the wrong ways, her love could be as painfully honest as Bill Maplewoods confession to his son about his pedophilia. Kristina ends her confessional conversation with a scope of fudge sundae in mid face "It was a crime of Passion, I'm a passionate woman". Same could be said for the Parents of the three Jordan siblings. On the other spectrum, they are a example of a life lived without passion and love. Lenny Jordan is dispatinate about the term divorce, as Mona Jordan cannot understand his emotions, who is merely concerned with appearance rather than love itself. but As sardonic of a view of society might seem in Solondz films, Happiness could be the one that hits home to say goodbye to a culture based ideal on contentment films and tv shows of the 90's, the bright and alluring safe colors, remind us of commercials for suburban living, even the music has a tounge in cheek feeling to the films true colors. it's hard for us to find happiness without frustration and acceptance of what we are raised to understand, especially when the human condition plays such a huge role, especially in his work. Happiness would challenge us to laugh, but we are all part of the world, complicit in it's destruction for happiness.

There is a loneliness in the characters that shatters the mold to anything before it, people who want to find hope but fail to materialize even if they finally get what they want, it's demonized as they try to do good, even if they are surprising true to themselves at the end, for instance while in bed Bill turns toward Trish whispering to her while she drifts in sleep "I'm sick". A morality struggle runs through the film, as desires in realty are never as good as they are dreamed, where the content of the film wallows in culture poisons; baskin robins, ball parks, suburban dreaming stuffed into a meat grinder. In happiness it really shows the thin line of contentment and destruction. These dreams would reoccur in Solondz next feature Storytelling only to see the dangers are still potent.

Even though it's a film about failure, Billy's final words entering the scene would be like a ballon of desperations depleting the films recents failed attempts, it's the only success we see, and the most humoursly honest. Even thoughts he's is almost seen as a younger Allen, destined to wallow in a predictable future. This film would be the epicenter of the Solondz's work and continues to be a iconic and frighteningly eye opening comedy of human nature at its most desperate.

Storytelling (2001)

Words are never stronger than actions. In Todd's second stab at social subject matter, he would call out the truth, again. Solondz parallels two stories citted "Fiction" and "Non-Fiction". Fiction follows two aspiring college student writers; Vi, a activist wannabe college student, her emotional cerebral palsy boyfriend; who is critically destroyed by their writing teacher, a tall African American who Vi evnys for his controversial fame, but is unpleasantly surprised with reality at a private night with the teacher. "Non-Fiction" follows a middle-class Jewish family and a so-called documentary filmmaker, Toby Oxman, whose chronicle documentary about "the mythology of High School" uses the families potsmoking and sexually confused son, Scooby as the subject, but turning it on the lives on the family for the sake of himself, or art. Alongside of that is the families youngest and most dangerously curious, Mikey, and his provoking conversations of poverty and morality with the home cleaning woman, Consualo.

Since Happiness' receptive release, critical appraisal and distaste shared the label words "controversial" and "disgusting" to give his films a distinctive taste. One word that sent Solondz to question even his own actions was "Taboo". Consider fiction's second scene taking place in a writing class that feels more like a torcher chamber. A harsh writing teacher sits at the end of a huge table towering over the quiet and nervous students while poisonously judging thier work. Marcus reads his story of personal ambivalence to only be brought down by the teacher's critical blade. Pulling a blow to Marcus' insecurity, but this is a Solondz environment, nothing is hidden, reality is painfully revealed. Even when Vi feels reluctance to have sex with the towering persona gives way to Vi's inability to identify with her politically correct outlook, athough she goes all the way, even sucumbing to the rascit slurs he commands her to shout. The scene has a strong irony of realiy doubling back on itself, almost as if the act of violent sex with her teacher is a nightmare of Vi's self-deception. Seeing her worst persona play out, but maybe her truest. The duality between Marcus, Vi and the teacher could be seen as Solondz's personal battle with his misiterpitation of his work from critics.

A brilliant element or device that Solondz uses and that is overlooked, is music. If you asked him what his inspiration for making films, he would say, "The Sounds of Music" or "The Wizard of Oz". (Which has a lot to do with Solondz next film) for Storytelling he commanded the help of indie-pop band Belle and Sebastian for a few musical pieces to accompany the film. Front man Stuart Murdoch was already familiar and a fan on Solondz, so it was a no brainer. Nathan Larson, Ex member of the indie band "Leslie" signed on to do fiction's droned pop soundscapes; his wife Nina did most of the vocal work with a almost careless attitude in her vocals to play down the attitude of fiction's dreamlike or parodying a teen film or tv show/sitcom of the 90's. Solondz's attitude was never to use music to mock, but to enhance the drama, or giving the film a playful childlike carelessness, expecially how Belle and Sebastian's song "Storytelling" ends the film after a the devastating outcome.

Non-Fiction doesn't seem to ver to far off from identity crisis and dreams failed that fiction or even Happiness stemmed from. Going into the non-fiction segment, we meet Toby Oxman, a shaky, but cryptic paunchy fellow, balding, with huge rimmed glasses; he pursues through a high school year book and calls a woman he used to go to school with, to brag about a film project he is working on about "kids in high school in the modern age", as said in Happiness art would desquize his desperation for intimacy. Solondz once spoke in a interview about this cleverness we all try to impress with, a sort of "dangerous seduction" as he calls it. Toby examplifies that cleverness, or show off attitude. Going right from the other film, it seems Like Toby has seen Solondz's "fiction" segment and is now devising his own version, but without the compassion, but just a the fact that he is a filmmaker and not deepening his believability to the idea. When he executes the idea, discovering Toby's family he begins to lose the sight of something serious and trades it in for expose', because of his notion to have something to prove, until the end of the film shows him the comedy is on him. Being true to yourself is liked being choked if your basis is conformity. Solondz points out our unconsience devotion to culture and deception how we are unaware to it's influence copying it without passion, or reality.

Toby isn't the only one getting off easy. Scobby suffers from his in the closet homosexuality, whiles his younger brother interrogates the house maid, Consualo about how her son was put to death for the good reason he believes in, because the person was a rapist and a murder that give the system validation to put him to death. Where Consualo believes her son was good because she loved him, even if it was painful. Which mirrors the end of the film when half the family is gassed to death in their sleep, not to see it as a controversial statement, but a pounding truth about sympathy and morality, our moral barometer. We cared about the family, we knew they were good, now their dead, and it makes us ponder what Consualo said and it puts us in her shoes. Our morality is corrected, and we are left at a pounding the note when scooby and Toby arrive to find his family in body bags, Scooby turns to Toby while being film by his camera man, Scooby staring at Toby, as if to plaster his last joke for Toby's film, "Your movie's a hit". as Belle and Sebastian's song that ends the film is almost a question onto the viewer of his impression of what we have experienced of reality. The film attacks itself for going the distance; Can it really take the responsibility for its actions, Maybe so, as said in the song could be a message to Solondz loyal and in loyal interpreters, "But all their words and actions come entirely from you".

Palindromes (2005)

The world can be harsh and beautiful, as seen by Aviva, a young 13 year old girl on the quest to become a woman, or a mother in this matter, is smitten with the urge to have a baby. Her hope sets her out on a fairly tale adventure to become pregnant. Not only will her change be important, but the it would take several different Aviva's to find it.

The new device used in Palindromes was the multiple actresses chosen to play Aviva. Going from precious small Chubby african girl, to a meek skinny girl, or to a androginines wander. The concept of Identity plays out in Palindromes as Aviva changes physically her world does as well as we are seeing the world through her eyes. The colors suggest with pink and light blue tones, a girl's innocence and fantasy, to Mama Sunshine's purity palace and the lost souls found by Mama called "The Sunshine Singers" who Solondz blatantly took from the vontrop family in "Sounds of Music". A film that Solondz considers to be his favorite film. Another scene that bring influence to mind is where Huckelberry Aviva is floating down a river in a sandbox boat. This of course can be greatly borrowed from Charles Laughton's macabre fairy tale Night of the Hunter.

Palindromes would be Solondz's first etching with loosely connected stories. This connection was made by the film's introductory scene taking place at a funeral home where Dawn Weiner from Dollhouse has died. Mark Weiner, Dawn's Brother, takes the stand to make a speech about Dawn's tragic life. Solondz intention was never to make companion pieces.

A topic like abortion kicks to the hearts of many. Solondz would find this to be his next subject of the ostracized . Stylistically, this heads in a different direction than the previous films, at the core it's still a question of Identity and culture reality. Aviva is played throughout the film by several different females determing the desperation she feels, we view a girl looking for herself where questions are not answered. Giving her life at home with her parents shelding her from pain and torment of the real world, they are obvious to her desires can only give irrational reasons for Aviva's decision to keep the baby that was awkwardly given to her "what if it is born deformed, or brain damaged". Palindromes reverses reality for the same reason it is given to Aviva. It takes places in a fantasy, but one riddled with guilt and sorrow, as Solondz would put it, moral implications. Take for instance Aviva's mother who instills in her about the baby's hypothetical condition, where Aviva ends up later in a world of misfortunes with similar descriptions her mother has embed in Aviva's mind. Joe who is considered a pedaphile in our first impression, we find out he is a born again Christian that goes through the film full of nervousness and hesitation of falling off the horse so to speak, one that he eventually does falls from. Joe could be seen as Aviva's, child, too. One who she treats with motherly tenderness, but this is still a world of playful things. It's Aviva's world we are looking at. Her compassion makes her a tragically sorrowful character; but also a survivor, much like Dawn, here counter-part. It could quite possibly be Solondz's most expressive And ultimately his first brush with stream-of-conscience cinema.

There is a gentle quality in this film that is rarely seen in his work. a question of doing good in our perceptions of what stands to be right and wrong; In this film neither are the most weighed. It's yet again the audience that is tested, like the gassed family in Storytelling, between what is good and bad, right and wrong is all about how we take it in. Mark Weiner is the breath of real air at the end. His monologue about the randomness and chaos of free will shakes the films very core. "No one changes, they think they do, but they don't" But non of this matters, in Marks sobering statement we are reminded of our paths are not determined, but disillusioned by our nature. Although, this cannot be a end, where Mark's sensitivity breaches the surface when he collects himself saying to Aviva. "Thanks for coming over to talk to me. I appreciate it. I'm not a pedaphile". Aviva calmly reassures him, "I know because Pedaphiles love children" Whoa, that was just said. It would make any loss lip conservative want to obliterated this film. In the other spectrume, were in a Solondz universe where Avaiva has let her heart open to a wounded soul, a mother to the disposed.

Life During Wartime (2010)

All is fair in love and war. This would put a fair description on Solondz's not-sequal to Hapiness. The Jordan family has gone through trials of hopelessness, but redemption is calling them to Florida to reinvent, (which is almost a good. way to look at the different actors playing the parts) where the past is no where in sight, and forgiveness is a self-reassured. Trish has meet the love of her life in true mensch, Harvey Weiner. Joy decides to visit from Jersey to find a new life outside of her collapsing relationship with the perverted and troubled, Allen, while being haunted by the ghost of Andy, her late boyfriend. Mark Weiner would make his appearance again, not as a Solondz doppelgänger, but someone who has seen to much disappointment to really say he cares, his focus is the future. Helene lives on the fringes of her success. Bill Maplewood is let out of prison in search of lost time. All in all, war is about to begin, and there will be casualties.

Solondz finds a way to understand sincerity and its potholes. It's not in insincerity its just our inability to find the right words, in the way that words and actions prevail. The woman that Bill Maplewood meets in a restaurant after his release, she is a domineering, frustrated widow that is plagued by her own self-destruction, but it has a frightening realization. It's not easy for her to feel good about what she has done, even though she confesses her children call her the villain, that she is a what she consider's a "monster". Bill cooly responds, "People can't help if they're monsters" this could be a great sum to all of Solondz characters, it's sincerity if anything. It's the bedroom scene where Bill fishes for money in her purse, where she catches him, reassuring her that she cannot be loved, but it's her that says "it's not like I have a heart". It's a devastating realization on human honesty, we are Definety monsters with a heart.

Andy's somber lonliness is jolted by his desire to be with Joy his anger and frustrations, but is this really Andy's frustrations or Joy's mental ghost, a sort of guilt ghost. It goes with the same as Allen who confesses to her his desire to clean his material life away and for Joy to kill herself, because of all the doubt she has about helping people. Although, she is desperate to be understood. Trish wants redemption by loving a man who she believes will change her life to meet some one "normal" by her standards. She too is falling in the emotional quagmire that Bill Maplewood fell into; even her need for confirmation from someone else to feel normal, or her perspective of what normal is. Mark Weiner has annihilated any for of expectations for hope. He has almost the outlook of someone who was in war, but a more self-determined one. He is the only one worried about the future, in the dinner scene he's say "I'm more focused on China, everything else is history", but he is also what Weiner's persona was when we left him in Palindromes. Helene coils to her stress and fractured success to try make up for her emotions she feels for her sister. She speaks honestly, but she cares for Joy, it's her fear of dishonesty that makes jumble for words, it's a type of modesty that exempts for anxiety. Solondz is a firm believer of the here and now, it's no wonder he etched this story where it is all about the present, even though the characters fail to live in it, but to feel detached, like it's all a dream. Its what you do best in a combative situation, we defend ourselves, and our reality.

Timmy is another one of Solondz curious children, the one who challenges our view to the most thought-provoking. A week away from his bar mitzvah, with manhood looming, Trish, his mother, has been hiding a secret that his father was in prison for being a serial rapist, but instead of telling him the truth, she covered it up, saying he was dead. Timmy's frustrations boil to a frightening surface when. The truth is reveled to him from a classmate. It's not the lie per say that makes him upset, it's the fact he is in the frustration of his masculinity, that his mother would treat him this way, still like a child. His his response is almost adult, but combative. This ideal of become ing a man, frustrates and fascinates Timmy, he goes for the jugular by asking Harvey Weiner about the idea of forgive and forgetting, and turns it not into a terrorist discussion, but a human one, to view it not from one side, even though Timmy sees this as a man trying to defend his family, it it's a massive debate on moralism and the perception of reality.His quest to understand his own manhood is brought to the ultimate test after his Bar Mitzvah when Mark Weiner lays a important fact about humanity, since he is a man now, it would be the perfect time.

Not only is Wartime a non-judgmental way of looking at forms of sincerity, but it's a bold question, "Am I Good" "have I done wrong" If this was a cruel story, people wouldn't question their actions, and wouldn't care if they hurt someone or not. Wartime asks these question about human exsistance, and even though not all of them are answered, life is what it is, who we are is what we are. It's tough to be honest with our words in Wartime, but our souls are loved and beating to be loved and understood. Timmy's last words with Mark ties the themes together as a truthful statement of Longing and sincerity. "I don't care about freedom and democracy, I just want my father."


Dark Horse (2011)

In a satirical stand point of "Aptow comedies" Abe is a fourty year old shmuck with a obsession for collecting toys, while still living at home with his parents, his agenda changes when he falls for a girl at a wedding that harbours some problematic implications.

Dark Horse would be Solondz's recent film to date, and surprisingly his most accessible. He decide to leave his supposedly controversial complexities and focus on a simple "boy meets girl" kind of story disguising as a Apatow eviroment; a man child living at home with his parents. It wasn't just a odd move for Solondz. This pathological frame of a man who cannot give up his toys without a fight, puts Todd at a viable place to try and unwind our sympathy. Taking back to the culture reality, Abe would be Solondz's most complicate.

Abe comes off as a loffer, a loud mouth, ignorant of his situation, but one would like to think he is complicit. This is a different form of complacency that hasn't really been broken into. As we see how other Solondz underdogs have created their own failures; its all to known that they are the provicators. Abe is a ticking time bomb. He plays off a carless persona that adolescence has him imprisoned between his complacency and adolescence. The route of escape is there. As many Solondz characters its a fear of find a reason to be happy with themselves, living in this spectrum, they are doomed. Taking back to the culture reality, Abe would be Solondz's most complicate, trapt in the past.

As the film progresses it finds its way into the ultimate escape, fantasy. Except these are the self-anguish ones that most likey have doomed Abe's persona from the start. His father's secretary appear in most of them. In a later scene Abe belts his anger about how unfair the world has been with him, trolling over hyper realist situations cornering his feeling of lonliness. This can only be untrue as his dotting mother stands next to him tenderly reassuring him she loves him. Dark Horse veiws this meditation of love for a man who cannot love himself.

Up until now, the ideal of Solondz's Jewish nature of his films might have been overlooked. Dark Horse might be a good place to give a interpretation. Consider Abe's affiliation with the Jewish mysticism of the Kaballah. His pact with dates and numbers, and thier unspoken meaning, sparks a unique spark in Abe's outlook on life itself, but it will always be a search in the dark for him as he wanders in the end of the film in the afterlife finding one number that he used as his compatibility, or fate number, is right behind the wallpaper unvealing his birth date on a hight chart. We know Abe wants to leave his parents and find love, but growing is not a option, to quote the Kaballah, "A bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh... Therefore a man will leave his father and his mother and cleave to his wife, and they shall become one flesh." His desire to marriage could be Abe's desperate desire to love and find it for himself can be next to the kaballah's teaching on love's true power "The key to love is selflessness, and the fulfillment it brings", and Abe is the barometer of selfishness. The key is that Abe never loses his selfishness and to the Kabalahs teaching you have to find true love to tune your soul to another's. When Abe finds out about Miranda's condition, you can put true love out of the picture. Even in one of his passive daydreams after looking up the symptoms, he finds (in one of Abe's many day dreams) his dad's secretary standing behind him . He turns to her and says, "but I love her" and she responds with a cocked head "do you?" He thinks it's truly love, but it's really not, or more or less he questions about if he can really. The idea is not to glorify the Kaballah as the main idea to Dark Horse, but to see Abe's world is ruled by his adolescence, his view to put things in perspective by the ways of his youth, that makes the film all the more fatalistic for Abe. It's a Jewish fate for Abe, to wander the after life finding the only number that still will never find it's compatibility, his own.

Even though Abe cannot find love outside himself, there are people who love him anyway. His father secretary could be the one person who truly loves Abe, and feels his soul suffering, because she too feels the fate of his doomed life. Then who's film is it really, who's reality are we really viewing here? We end on her gazing into the void, with her hollowed eyes as the world goes on around her without sentiment.


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