Thirty-something guy with arrested development falls for thirty-something girl with arrested development, but moving out of his junior high school bedroom proves too much. Tragedy ensues.
Writer and director Todd Solondz (Welcome to the Dollhouse, Happiness, Life During Wartime) examines the irretrievability of youth and the mercilessness of time passing in DARK HORSE, a melancholy and idiosyncratic comedy starring Justin Bartha (The Hangover), Selma Blair (Hellboy), Mia Farrow (Rosemary’s Baby), Jordan Gelber (“Boardwalk Empire”), Donna Murphy (Spider-Man 2), Academy Award® winner Christopher Walken (The Deer Hunter), Zachary Booth (The Blue Eyes) and Aasif Mandvi (“The Daily Show”).
In his mid-30s, Abe (Jordan Gelber) clings to the trappings of his adolescence, including the extensive collection of toys and action figures adorning his boyhood bedroom. Still living with his parents Jackie (Christopher Walken) and Phyllis (Mia Farrow), Abe works for his increasingly disappointed Dad and spends evenings ruthlessly trouncing his Mom at backgammon. His older brother Richard’s (Justin Bartha) success as a California doctor only feeds Abe’s resentment and rage at his family over his failures.
When Abe meets Miranda (Selma Blair), whose personal and professional disasters have sent her scrambling back to the safety of her parents’ suburban home, he sees what he thinks is a chance at true love. Abe throws himself into pursuing the overmedicated Miranda, convincing her to marry him after a whirlwind courtship. But, as the couple haltingly prepares to start a new life together, the film swerves into Abe’s subconscious, where his crippling self-doubt and dark fears begin to undermine his nearly realized dream of a fuller life.
Tempering his trademark lacerating humor with unexpected tenderness, Solondz creates a poignant and provocative portrait of a besieged man-child and his fractured family—the story of a longtime dark horse struggling to come from behind.
Todd Solondz was born in Newark, New Jersey, and grew up in the suburbs. In 1996 WELCOME TO THE DOLLHOUSE, a feature he produced, wrote, and directed, won the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival and many other awards. In 1998, HAPPINESS, which he wrote and directed, won the International Critics Prize at the Cannes Film Festival, and was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Screenplay.
His next film, STORYTELLING, premiered at the 2001 Cannes Film Festival and was named one of the “ten best films of the year” by THE NEW YORK TIMES. PALINDROMES premiered in competition at the 2004 Venice Film Festival, as well as at that year’s Telluride, New York, and Toronto film festivals. LIFE DURING WARTIME won the best screenplay award at the Venice Film Festival in 2009 and numerous other awards. DARK HORSE had its premiere in competition at the 2011 Venice Film Festival.