Living Dolls

Directed by: Maureen Judge
Canada | 73 minutes

This documentary depicts the quirky subculture of doll-collecting, following a group of adults who dedicate their lives to collecting dolls in their various forms.

There is huge variety in the dolls as well as the people who collect them – ranging from a New York artist who buys old Barbies from thrift stores and reconstitutes them as ‘robots’ for stop motion films, to the altogether more sinister obsession with ‘real dolls’, the unsettlingly lifelike sex dolls.

The material is handled with a lightness of touch, the music and graphics evoking a fairytale, but there is something serious and substantial beneath the surface, as we get small glimpses of the reasons that these eccentric people have ended up with this left-field preoccupation. The dolls inevitably seem to take the place of real and meaningful relationships, often seemingly stemming from some childhood trauma. And in all cases we’re encourage to feel sympathy for these people and at times given profound insight into their lives and what has led them to become this way.

The filmmaking is organic and unobtrusive, the protagonists simply left to tell their stories, allowing space for us to draw our own conclusions on their idiosyncratic, and at times confounding, behaviour.

Maureen Judge
Maureen Judge
Martin Waxman
Maureen Judge
Daniel Grant
Original Format