Living Dolls: The Subculture of Doll Collecting

Living Dolls: The Subculture of Doll Collecting

2013, Society  -   3 Comments
Ratings: 7.29/10 from 42 users.

Most children lose interest in dolls as they grow older. The eccentric characters that populate the wildly entertaining documentary Living Dolls are different.

There's Mike, an adult male who lives with his parents, his boyfriend and a sizeable collection of Barbie dolls. He's preparing to embark on his first Barbie convention, and he's nervous and uncertain of the experience which awaits him there. During his closeted adolescence, Michael threw away all of his Barbie dolls. But once he came out to his family and proclaimed his true self, he reinvested in his collection with great vigor, and with the support of those closest to him.

Then there's Michael, an older gentleman whose home doubles as a workshop. Among the piles of papers, envelopes and tools, Michael tinkers diligently to strip away all the accoutrements of each doll, including the costumes, the hair, and the plastic skin coating. What remains are bare-boned metallic figures that more strongly resemble robots than Barbie dolls.

David's passion for dolls goes deeper than the mere thrill of collecting. He harbors no shame in admitting the moments of extreme intimacy he shares with these eerily life-like works of silicon art. He's not alone in his peculiar proclivities. The film follows him as he attends an annual meeting of literal doll lovers just like himself.

Finally, there's Debbie, a beautiful young wife and mother of two whose addiction to doll collecting is depriving her family of a better life. Her extraordinarily patient and understanding husband pleads for an end to his wife's spending habits. It's clear that her compulsion stems from a missing element in her life that she can't quite define.

These subjects live far outside of the norm, but the film examines each of their stories without judgment. Do their unique passions represent harmless forms of self-expression? Or do they signify an unhealthy balance in their psyche? Some are hopelessly lost in their obsessions while others seem to have finally found their greatest confidence and comfort within them.

Deceptively simple and comic on the surface, Living Dolls actually provides a thoughtful psychological study of the ways in which we all fight to defeat loneliness and find our happiness.

Directed by: Maureen Judge

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Gary Derby
Gary Derby
6 years ago

I love my doll bridal , named her Darla, a baby girls name I'm widdow Male 76 year

7 years ago

This Mike guy is wicked!
"They think -"that little dick is pointed at ME!""
*laughed loud enough to wake the husband..*

7 years ago

I've often that because males of how males are vociferously discouraged from playing with dolls as children, it comes out in their later years one way or another. Boys grow up to father children, in most cases, and yet are denied early role play for this because it's thought to be too feminine. Instead boys are guided towards "masculine" play which prepares them for war and to become fighters. Any natural urge to relate closely to another human being (even if it's only a likeness in the form of a doll) is ridiculed and the boy is chastised. So, it comes out in later life. Men who take women shopping for clothes or who control what she wears or how she wears her hair and makeup... and now this extreme of men with dolls.. it's more than "relationship" issues because a man can't find a real woman. It begins early in life when boys are denied opportunity to play at relationships that are not geared towards violence and competition. Dolls allow girls to role play and develop nurturing characteristics while boys are pushed into activities which develop dominance and control. What is supressed in childhood comes out one way or another in adulthood.