Todd Solondz has carved out his own little niche with his dark, oddly interconnected movies, all beginning with his cult classic, Welcome to the Dollhouse. The film starred Heather Matarazzo as Dawn Weiner, a less-than-attractive young girl who experiences bullying from everybody around her. Solondz has revisited Dawn and many of his characters in films like Happiness, Palindromes, and Life During Wartime, all played by different actors. Now he's back and revisiting Dawn in Wiener-Dog, only this time she's played by Greta Gerwig.
Ignoring that Gerwig and Matarrazo could never ever be mistaken for one another, the tone of this one is pure Solondz. The story is told from the focus of a little dog as it passes from owner to owner, one of them being Dawn Wiener who goes on a strange road trip with someone from her past. Here's the official synopsis:
Wiener-Dog tells several stories featuring people who find their life inspired or changed by one particular dachshund, who seems to be spreading a certain kind of comfort and joy. Man’s best friend starts out teaching a young boy some contorted life lessons before being taken in by a compassionate vet tech named Dawn Wiener. Dawn reunites with someone from her past and sets off on a road trip picking up some depressed mariachis along the way. Wiener-Dog then encounters a floundering film professor, as well as an embittered elderly woman and her needy granddaughter—all longing for something more.
So how is Dawn alive when Palindromes showed us her funeral? Your guess is as good as mine, and judging from colleagues who saw it at Sundance the answer isn't forthcoming. Wiener-Dog opens on June 24th and co-stars Kieran Culkin, Tracy Letts, Danny DeVito, Ellen Burstyn, Julie Delpy and Zosia Mamet.