Doll House 2022 Movie Review Poster Trailer Online
Doll House has a simple premise, but its execution is shaky at best. This morally ambiguous story puts us in the mind of a troubled and flawed father trying to rekindle the relationship he never had with his daughter. While the idea is nice, the way Doll House presents his character and situation leaves a lot to be desired.
The story begins with a glimpse of the future when a young woman arrives at a nursing home to find her father taken away. He has lost his memory and can’t remember who she is. That man is Rustin, and we step back in time to see him at the height of his shame.
Rustin performs in a rock band and works hard and plays hard equally, with a steady cocktail of alcohol and drugs to keep him going. When his friend Diego experiences the worst, Rustin decides to make amends for the evils he has caused and flies to Rotterdam to make it happen.
So what’s in Holland you ask? Well, just his estranged daughter Yumi, whom he decided to leave while his wife Sheena was pregnant to pursue a life of rock music. Since then no one has heard from him. Unfortunately, Sheena passed away, leaving care responsibilities to Bok and Rachelle. When Rustin shows up, he adopts a fake persona by the name of Clyde to meet his daughter, Yumi.
From here the story takes on a sentimental edge, with Rustin meeting his daughter and making sure he hides the truth from Yumi as best he can. When Rachelle is on a business trip and poor Bok is duped by this man, chaos inevitably ensues.
I’m not going to spoil all the twists here, but tonally the movie can’t pull on your heart as much as it would like. While there are some nice montages where Rustin and Yumi play together, there is a section where Rustin takes them away from Bok so they can hang out together and stay at a hotel. Bok is worried sick and Rustin ends up turning off his phone. Whimsical music playing all the time?
The problem with this angle is that Rustin isn’t exactly a warm-hearted protagonist to cheer for. He is deeply flawed and we see him drinking and using drugs on several occasions. At one point, he actually drinks so much that he almost misses a rehearsal, which he promises his daughter he’ll go with.
I can’t help but think that it would have been better to have seen Rustin sober after the Diego incident and then, as a promise of sobriety, set about righting the wrongs in his life — including meeting and knowing his daughter.
Some of the actors are also a bit spotty in places, although that’s somewhat due to the fact that English is a second language here and the drama jumps back and forth between Filipino and English on numerous occasions.
The editing and camerawork fares slightly better, however, with a few neatly framed segments that stand out. Flashbacks, however, have the cliche fisheye lens attached.
Doll House isn’t a bad movie per se and the star of the show is certainly little Yumi. She’s super sweet, and her energy helps bring some fun vibrancy to an otherwise pretty average and morally ambiguous story.