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From Todd Solondz, the critically acclaimed director of Welcome to the Dollhouse comes a film comprised of two separate stories set against the sadly comical terrain of college and high school, past and present. Following the paths of its young hopeful/troubled characters, it explores issues of sex, race, celebrity and exploitation.
Todd Solondz, director of the acclaimed Welcome to the Dollhouse and the controversial Happiness, continues pushing the envelope of social decorum with the merciless and casually cruel Storytelling, his most ruthless satire of suburban complacency. Broken into two unrelated chapters, "Fiction" follows college girl Selma Blair through a degrading encounter with her resentful writing teacher (Robert Wisdom), while the more sprawling and scattershot "Non-Fiction" circles around the mutual exploitation of a fumbling documentary filmmaker (Paul Giamatti doing a near-parody of director Solondz) and his clueless subject, a suburban high school slacker named Scooby (Mark Webber). The squirmy laughs are laced with humiliation and the satire is acidic and cynical; in the world of Solondz, victims and victimizers alike are petty, selfish, vindictive, and thoughtless, and empathy is strictly rationed. Though sharply written and well directed, this misanthropic vision is strictly for daring filmgoers and Solondz fans. --Sean Axmaker
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Top Customer Reviews
Selma Blair and Leo Fitzpatrick give incredible performances in the first segment of this film titled "Fiction". John Goodman is at his best here in the film's second segment "Non-fiction", not to mention it was a good to see Julie Haggerty in it.
One of the film's most honest moments (and there are MANY) comes in the beginning of the Non-Fiction segment, during a phone call Paul Giamatti gives to a female classmate he hadn't spoken to since high school. While hilarious, I couldn't help but feel bad for his character, which gets fleshed out in the almost confessional tone of the conversation (which of course, he blunders).
I don't want to dig far into the plot because the elements of shock and surprise that are Solondz bread and butter should only be revealed by others, suffice it to say I recommend this movie very highly. I look forward to anything this director does.
The second part of Storytelling, Non-fiction, illiterates the reality of the world as Scooby Livingston (Mark Webber) perceives it. Scooby lives in a upper-class bubble protected by his ruling father, Marty (John Goodman), where Scooby is constantly asked, "what are you going to do with your life?" This endless questioning of Scooby's future seems to have been stressful for him as he has sunk into a zombie-like state. Scooby escapes reality through smoking pot or chewing down a couple of mushrooms where he flees into dreams of working as a co-host with David Letterman. The day when a shoe salesman, who aspires to make film, visits Scooby's high school in order to make a documentary about the process of entering college Scooby believes that this is his chance to make connections in the world of media. However, when the documentary comes along it begins to depict the dream-like world in which Scooby lives in.
Storytelling is a clever film that displays the symbiosis between the audience and the storyteller, which is meticulously directed by Solondz.Read more ›
The second and longer story is called "Nonfiction" and it stars Paul Giamatti, who already amazed me this year with "American Splendor" and he gives another great preformance as Tobey Oxford, a documentary filmmaker who is doing a documentary about high school students, and how it is hard to get into the collage of your choice. He finds his focus in Scooby Livingston, who is a student who does not want to go to collage, and is a slacker who has no idea what he wants to do in the future. That makes his parents, Marty and Fern, ticked off at him, and also their middle child Brady to the suspection that he is gay. Their youngest son Mike, is ten years old, and is complety spoiled, and also interested in their live in maid Consuelo's life and family history. As Tobey shoots the documentary, the family deals with problems that arise, untill finally "Nonfiction" and the movie comes to a surprising and bitter end.
The end of "Nonfiction" surprised me. I did not see anything like that coming. It also made me think that I should have seen it coming. I was decieved. What I liked about the movie was how the two stories were related to each other.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
If you strongly dislike this movie, I suggest reading Crowley's scathing early reviews of Faulkner; then read Crowley's later praise of the same works. Read morePublished on June 23 2004 by Guipi Boy
Storytelling is an interesting movie that portrays the contemporary North American society.
It emphasizes the pitiful importance of the individual as the stem of a... Read more
Thanks for refreshing drama. The first half (all that I have watched so far) seems a portrayal of a young women's (Vi's) daring and traumatic moves into life, a snap shot of... Read morePublished on May 27 2004 by Guipi Boy
This is honestly the worst movie I've ever seen. I can't imagine how anyone could possibly have enjoyed it. I hated everything about it.Published on May 9 2004
Selma Blair is hot as hell. This movie really utilizes that aspect of her acting repitoire.Published on April 27 2004 by Chad Kultgen
After the acclaimed and controversial "Happiness", Todd Solondz produced another acid and depressing vision of today`s America. Read morePublished on Jan. 29 2004 by gonn1000
My mate brought this back because of its glowing reputation, and we both sat in stunned silence as we watched this. Read morePublished on Jan. 26 2004 by John Doh
Storytelling is a bit of a disappointment except for some great moments that really stand out, but sadly overall is not really this director on form. Read morePublished on Jan. 10 2004 by OverTheMoon
I previously have been a fan Todd Solondz's work in the pastm but I really didn't like Storytelling. Solondz has a real talent to make the tragic and brutal seem humorous. Read morePublished on Jan. 9 2004 by Oezekoye