Welcome to the Dollhouse is the story of Dawn Wiener (Heather Matarazzo), an awkward seventh grader who is put down by her peers because of her physical appearance. The taunting Dawn endures is extreme and does not come across as even slightly reminiscent of anything that happened in my high school, but this fact does not take away from the empathy we feel for her as she struggles through her daily life. As if school weren't bad enough, Dawn's home life doesn't leave much to be desired. Her older brother Mark (Matthew Faber), is the "king of the geeks". Her parents offer no support either. Dawn's other sibling, Missy (Daria Kalinina), is the darling of the family who can do no wrong. She simply flits around the house in her pink tu-tu and makes Dawn's life look hellish by comparison.
Dawn's life is further complicated by Brandon McCarthy (Brendan Sexton Jr.), the misunderstood juvenile who has taken a liking to her. At the beginning of their "relationship" he tells her he will rape her. This does not happen because of various circumstances, but Dawn ends up falling for this tough guy and eventually losing him when he runs away. Throughout the movie, it appears as if everyone in her life pours their derision upon anything she does, exposing all her weaknesses however carefully they might be hidden. Dawn, in turn, passes this on to the few people that she gets close to.
The end of this movie does not make us feel as if Dawn will triumph over her situation. Instead she will endure it to the best of her ability, with the hope that each taunt will make her stronger in the long run. I recommend this one only if you're in a mood to be depressed.