Storytelling is 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 exploitationWritten by
Fine Line Features
At first viewing I though this was the weakest of director Todd Solondz films, however like all of his works, it's impossible to forget once seen. Todd Solondze absorbed criticisms about exploitation, showing misery for misery's sake, and just generally being a "meanie", and turned them into the cinematic equivalent of a "dis song"(rap term for song made specifically as an attack or "beef" with another rapper), with Solondz against critics, carefully trying to explain the notions of "Storytelling". Our first story deals with sex, political correctness, race, and fiction writing, as a young liberal college girl has unpleasant and ironic sexual experience with her Black writing professor. Our second well...with the same subjects just this time with non-fiction in place of fiction. Here Solondz shows us yet another dysfunctional upper middle class Jewish family in chaos, but this time as a "documentary", which shows us the pathetic film maker, the cruel or otherwise ignorant family, and the audience who laughs and scoffs, at it all.
This is a rare film, because it's a film maker addressing his critiques, himself, and his audience all at once. And it has plenty of Solondz trade mark cringe scenes, that veer drastically from comic to dramatic in a matter of breaths. The results are absorbing but like all Solondz it leaves a bad taste in your mouth, and makes you honestly question your own moral compass. They say satire is dead if the audience cannot be shocked, but it's also dead if the audience cannot be shamed, in the days where South Park and Family Guy, are on non cable TV any afternoon (l love both shows), shock and shame are concepts so familiar they've lost some of their power. Thankfully just when we've seen it all and were sure that nothing matters and nothing can surprise, startle, or offend us, Todd Solondz will be there to show things can always get worse.
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