My Sister’s Dollhouse is described in its tagline as “a parody of sorts.” This perfectly captures the film’s dry humour and lack of unneeded flash; there is no glamour or visual exaggeration. There is no emotional involvement from the main character, who is very much detached and separated from the goings-on around him. His aim in the film is to discover more about himself, but he seems unsure of what identity even means, and less sure of how to acquire it.
This story is told in an autobiographical style which takes us through the events of the film through the eyes of the main character. This is ideal for him as it is his story, but the opinions of others have found their way onto the screen. The list on his mother’s dresser contains multiple ways to get away from her son, or, in a more extreme scenario, kill him. But he is very much oblivious to this – he’s more concerned with the items and their quantity rather than their darker implications, the prime example being his tied-up stepbrother on the dresser.
This film employs an unusual sense of comedy, feeling awkward and strange. It puts viewers in a position where they feel unsure of whether to laugh, or to feel concerned for the character and the people in his life. Each element of the film feels funny, the editing revealing new information in an offbeat way to shock and confuse. The music builds us up to something magnificent and lets us down with the raging fire bellowing from the dollhouse windows. The other characters simply look tremendously uncomfortable being part of the film. Dry, witty and very unusual, My Sister’s Dollhouse requires several viewings and an enjoyment of confusion.
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CAST: David Elms
DIRECTOR: Jim Archer
WRITER: Jim Archer
CINEMATOGRAPHY: Charlie Goodger
MUSIC: Dexter Britain
SYNOPSIS: A filmmaker tries to discover himself by making a film. He fails.