Metascore
53

Mixed or average reviews - based on 36 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 36
  2. Negative: 9 out of 36
  1. Like all this adventurous filmmaker's work, it's truly one of a kind.
  2. 100
    Most comedies start with a straight story and hang jokes on it; Solondz begins with a cosmic joke and takes his characters by the hand as they suffer through it.
  3. Then there's Todd Solondz's Palindromes, which is that rare event: a memorable provocation.
  4. 88
    If the movie is a moral labyrinth, it is paradoxically straightforward and powerful in the moment; each individual story has an authenticity and impact of its own.
  5. Reviewed by: Kyle Smith
    88
    Solondz beats on abortion defenders, stomps on the pro-life crowd and finishes up by telling us there is no free will. If you want some easy laughs tonight you'd be better off curling up with some Kierkegaard.
  6. Palindromes is a cracked American picaresque.
  7. 80
    You love Solondz's films, you'll love Palindromes. That same twisted sense of humor is there and certain scenes go on for an uncomfortably long time, but you wind up savoring the discomfort.
  8. As depressing as it is hard to watch, Palindromes is also consistently, horrifyingly funny and sharp-witted, and the darker and more well-observed its humor, the more it belies the director's unsentimental, even grudging empathy for his fellow DNA monkeys.
  9. 75
    Solondz likes to put the screws to moral hypocrisy. As always, he goes too far. As always, you don't want to look away.
  10. Palindromes isn't a wise movie, or a particularly true movie, but it's an honest one and a singular experience.
  11. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    75
    What makes Palindromes bearable is that Solondz has yet to come up with an answer.
  12. Reviewed by: Glenn Kenny
    75
    What could have been Solondz's most complex and challenging film winds up being a bit on the flat side. Still, the life-forms skittering over its surface are fascinating to behold.
  13. 70
    With the possible exception of Neil LaBute, I can't think of a filmmaker who can divide an audience as efficiently as Solondz.
  14. 70
    Palindromes becomes a strangely compelling fractured fable, a grim cinematic fairy tale heightened by Nathan Larson's delicate, bittersweet score.
  15. The experience isn't for everyone. But it amounts to intellectual penicillin for our sequel-driven, franchise-heavy entertainment culture.
  16. Aviva emerges undamaged for all of her trauma. That may be the most compassionate, human act Solondz has offered in his career up to now.
  17. As bizarre, provocative and almost deliberately off-putting an indie picture as anything that's popped up in theaters recently.
  18. Reviewed by: David Rooney
    60
    Like the symmetrical word that supplies its title, the mordant comedy-drama recovers ground to become a boldly intriguing if not entirely satisfying subversion of American family values.
  19. 50
    Solondz's determinedly removed eye for the graphic and shocking is by now practically a cliche. If Solondz really wants to outrage anyone, he'll have to make a sweet and heartfelt drama.
  20. Based on Palindromes, it's easy to see what Solondz is railing against but almost impossible to tell what he's railing for.
  21. The heroes are villains, the villains are heroes, and in between are the innocents who become casualties in their wars waged in the names of morality and righteousness.
  22. 42
    Solondz, for reasons best discussed with a therapist, can find no good in people -- or at least none that he expresses in his films.
  23. It's a highly stylized piece of work typical of director Todd Solondz, who renders wildly exaggerated sequences on a topic not generally thought of as a basis for comedy. He leaves it to the viewer to decide if it's insightful whimsy or meaningless drivel.
  24. 40
    Palindromes read the same way backward and forward, and Todd Solondz' sour tale ends where it begins.
  25. Reviewed by: Adam Smith
    40
    It’s occasionally sick-funny, but large swathes are unforgivably dull.
  26. You could call this film repugnant and abrasive, and Solondz would probably agree.
  27. 40
    If the point of "A Dirty Shame" was that nothing human is foreign to John Waters, Palindromes seems to suggest that, for Todd Solondz, everything human is.
  28. On the evidence of Palindromes, the most misanthropic, depressing, hopeless film in memory, I'd hazard that for Solondz, childhood is a problem without a solution.
  29. 38
    A shallow, transparent satire/social commentary, Palindromes lives and dies on a gimmick.
  30. Mostly stiff acting and intentionally flat, banal dialogue.
  31. The human landscape of Palindromes is a vista of grotesqueness, dishonesty and creepiness. These are qualities Mr. Solondz has explored before, but this time he fails to make them interesting, partly because he lets himself and the audience off the hook.
  32. Reviewed by: David Edelstein
    30
    A thesis movie, almost a manifesto for despair, and certainly worthy of the aforementioned NR-DS rating. Except that its bad vibes don't linger. Have dinner and smart conversation with friends, hug a child, pick up a good book--and poof, life returns with a happy vengeance.
  33. Palindromes finds him (Solondz) stuck with his single theme inside a sealed dollhouse of his own construction. He has gifts to give a larger audience, if ever he breaks out.
  34. 30
    As a director, Solondz seems to have his own locked-in fate -- to favor caricature over compassion -- and his movies are the worse for it.
  35. This is extremely dark and politically loaded material.
  36. 20
    I've never seen anything crazier than Palindromes. You can read that as praise if you're that sort of person, but I don't mean it that way.
User Score
7.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 25 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 12
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 12
  3. Negative: 4 out of 12
  1. Apr 2, 2012
    9
    Sorry, translation Italian / English mechanics.

    It 'a film emotionally powerful, indeed, very strong. The palindrome Solondziana script
    leaves the viewer sensoramiche endless possibilities. There are EIGHT actors for the character of AVIVA, but not the number of actors who are interested, since the possibility of empathic contact chance to hear "from within, in the making" / people around me; minimizing the risk of confusion un'incidentale. For this reason, Palindromes goes "observed". So I understand.

    All of us, I think, if we look at our life, its most significant events, we try to draw, memory after memory, an emotional map. Inevitably the contents of this map contains words that express feelings, engaging, such as desire, friendship, love, passion, possession, nausea, joy, anger, enthusiasm, positivity, nervousness, impatience, disappointment, anger, revenge, despair, hatred / and so on. Palindromes is all about.

    Palindrome, is the unchanging part of us, like it or not. And 'This is the border, this is the extreme boundary, whether genetic, psychological wish that each of us must face in order to learn to accept it. But, everything in us that is blank, inert, may undergo changes, albeit small? The films of Todd Solondz, "guts" of society, its conventions and beliefs, and does so with a director and a screenplay that follow a chromatic scale psychological changes, nuanced and saturations.
    The viewer, the task of "tuning" not at all simple.

    Luckiness!
    Full Review »
  2. M.Daye
    Feb 4, 2006
    10
    Fiendishly bittersweet, Palindromes will have you both laughing at and feeling for the most sensitive of characters.