My Life as a Dog

 
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Product Description

Simultaneously elegiac and raw, this uneven--but unforgettable--tearjerker tells the story of Ingemar, a 12-year-old working-class Swedish boy sent to live with his childless aunt and uncle in a country village when his mother falls ill. Beginning with several representations of the most savage, unsentimental domestic intensity imaginable (interplay between a sick parent and loving child has never looked anywhere near as explosive), My Life as a Dog wisely doesn't attempt to maintain that level of danger; rather, the change in locale to rural Sweden is accompanied by a slackening of pace and a whimsical breeziness. Nevertheless, the tragic condition of Ingemar's mother (and later, the indeterminate fate of Sickan, his beloved dog, consigned to a kennel) hovers over the narrative with a gripping portentousness. At times, director Lasse Hallstr?m misplaces the rhythm, and the film threatens to degenerate into a series of rustic vignettes; luckily, Ingemar's relationship with Gunnar, the jocular yet somewhat sinister uncle who essentially adopts him, carries a fascinating charge. In Swedish, with subtitles. This was later rewritten, whether intentionally or not, by Spike Lee, who changed the gender of the child, set the story in New York City, added a 1970s soul soundtrack, and called it Crooklyn. --Miles Bethany

Customer Reviews:

  • An film about a snippet of life.
    This film seems ordinary when watching it though interesting, but by the time the story comes to a close you realize you've enjoyed to whole film and that it's a beautiful story.I think this is a story that reaches out to all who watch it and that we can all relate to it on one level or another.
    It is an honest and lovely film, well recommended. ...more info
  • Essential cinema: Hallstr?m's 'Mitt liv som hund.'
    Swedish director, Lars Sven (Lasse) Hallstr?m's (1946) film, My Life as a Dog (Mitt liv som hund) (1985) tells the bittersweet story of a working-class 12-year-old, Ingemar (Anton Ganzelius), who is sent to live with his uncle Gunnar (Tomas von Br?mssen) and his wife Ulla (Kicki Rundgren) in a small rural town in Sm?land, after his mother (Anki Lid¨¦n) becomes terminally ill. In Sm?land, he encounters a variety of warmhearted eccentics: Saga (Melinda Kinnaman), a tomboy who repeatedly beats him in boxing; Fransson (Magnus Rask), a man who continually fixes the roof of his house; and Mr. Arviddson (Didrik Gustavsson), an old man living downstairs who asks Ingemar to read to him from a lingerie catalog. At one especially memorable point in the film, Ingemar clings to Saga's leg and starts barking like a dog. Upset by his strange behavior, Saga tells Ingemar during a boxing match that his beloved family dog, Sickan (which he had thought was in a kennel) has been euthanized. This, along with his mother's death, is too much for Ingemar. He reassures himself throughout the film that it could have been worse, reciting several examples, such as the man who took a shortcut onto the field during a track meet only to be killed by a javelin, and the story of the dog "Laika," the first creature sent into orbit by the Russians (without any way to return to Earth). Hallstr?m later went on to direct What's Eating Gilbert Grape, Something to Talk About, The Cider House Rules, and An Unfinished Life.

    My Life as a Dog is among my all-time film favorites, and it consistently ranks in critical top movie lists. The Criterion edition offers an amazingly crisp digital transfer of the film, with a clear soundtrack and score, a 52-minute film by Lasse Hallstr?m: Shall We Go to Your or My Place or Each Go Home Alone?, a video interview with Lasse Hallstr?m, and Kurt Vonnegut's reflections on My Life as a Dog.

    G. Merritt ...more info
  • Poignant Story of Childhood Losses
    I was deeply touched by My Life as a Dog. It's a movie that tells an everyday story with courage and not a lot of sentiment, and it's all the more real for that. A boy loses both his mother and his beloved dog, and although he's adopted by his uncle, he can't forget what he's left behind. I found the story very unHollywood, and for that reason, quite refreshing. This movie tells a good story, and it does it superbly. The mention of Laika, the little Russian Space dog was also poignant....more info
  • A Great Swedish Film!
    A must see for all you foreign film buffs! This film contains a brilliant mixture of depressing and inspiring moments. It leaves you feeling both lethargic and energized. Frustrated and peaceful. Basically, it touches on all your emotions. Filmed in Sweden, the scenery reminds you of the rural Midwestern U.S.
    You really get a feel for Swedish culture. See it!...more info
  • Extremely well-made
    This is an extremely well-made movie. It honestly shows how the boy dealt with the confusion of growing up, and also of growing up in unusually stressful situations (such as moving alot and living with a mother with a disorder). It is heart-warming, true to life, and the acting was top-notch. It contains lots of beneath the surface "artsy" elements that stress the meaning of the movie (off the top of my head example: towards the end he watches glass being reshaped and hardened into a new shape, paralell to the transition in his own life). Great film....more info
  • Unforgetable
    Sure the summary of the movie isn't eye catching to some, but its a movie that should be seen, damnit! I mean it. This is a story about a little boy named Ingemar whos relationship with his loving mother slowly falls apart due to her sickness.Ingemar is soon sent away to live with his uncle and aunt for the summer.This movie is charming and has a great cast of quirky charcters....more info
  • No "dog" here: this movie is terrific
    This is a neat little movie about a 12-year-old boy (Anton Glanzelius) who tries to make sense of his mother's terminal illness, death in general, and a world full of change. He tries to cheer his mother up as best he can, but she is too far gone to really notice or care. His fondest memories are times spent at the beach with her when she was healthier and their times together were better. As a coming-of-age movie, sex plays an important (and confusing) part for the boy, from the old bedridden man in the upstairs apartment who likes him to read the lingerie ads to him, to the tomboy who is the best soccer player on his team and keeps trying to show him her breasts. The movie is full of wonderful, insightful touches. Glanzelius is marvelous. A real gem of a movie....more info
  • A nice film by Lasse Hallstr?m
    This review is for the Criterion Collection DVD edition of the film.

    "My Life as a Dog" known in Sweden as "Mitt Liv Som Hund" is inarguably Hallstr?m's best known foreign language film. Though he has done other films they are American or British made. "Chocolat," "What's Eating Gilbert Grape," and "Something to Talk About." He is also very well known for directing the music videos for the world famous Swedish pop group, ABBA.

    The film is about a 12 year old boy in 1950's Sweden. He is very rambunctious and when his mother falls ill, his antics prevent her from recovering, so he is sent to live with his uncle. He meets new people there and makes friends with the towspeople. He often compares his misfortunes with those worse off than he is.

    The film has some excelent scenes of the more rural areas Sweden and some fine photography also. It remains a very popular film to this day and has recieved or been nominated for many awards. It won a golden globe for best foreign film and was nominated for best director by the AMPAS. Though it is described by many people as a family film, it got a PG-13 rating in the US. Mainly for nudity and sexual diaglogue. There is a half second of full frontal female nudity, though non-sexual, it still may be a cause for parental concern. The other scene involves material that I feel uncomfortable mentioning but parents are urged to watch the film themselves before letting their children see it.

    The special features on the Criterion DVD include Lasse Hallstr?m's first film, "Ska vi g? hem till dej eller till mej eller var och en till sitt?" which translates to, "Shall We Go to My Place or Your Place or Each Go Home Alone?" This film has some explicit sex scenes and definately not appropriate for children.

    There is also a theatrical trailer and an interview with Lasse Hallstr?m. The liner notes also include a special notation about the film by Kurt Vonnegut.

    Fans of Swedish cinema will enjoy this release....more info
  • An interesting movie
    To tell the truth I fast forwarded through the movie because the dubbed voices got on my nerves. The basic premise is that he gets sent to the countryside because his mother is dying of cancer. While in the countryside he befriends a 13 year old girl who is just beginning to develop. She speaks frankly to him about the physical changes she is going through. I enjoyed the fraternity of kids (age 8-13) who got along like our gang from the little rascal shorts. There is some nudity in this movie that some may find alarming, therefore this is an 18 and above movie. Enjoy....more info
  • My favorite movie of all time.
    Few movies come this close to perfection. This is an intelligent and moving story of a boy who must come to terms with abandonment, loss and the casual betrayal of adults. Extremely well acted on all sides, with a bold script that dares to ask the important questions. Ingemar must try to find some balance in his life, as he is tossed from one "home" to another, like a stray dog... or, like the Soviet space-dog Laika, who was sent into space only to starve to death in orbit. "They never intended to bring her back." The final scenes of "My Life as a Dog" do win out, when the odd town's crazy old man takes a swim in the frozen river. The whole cast of peculiar town-folk come out to "rescue" him, and offer him a place by the fire, a blanket, a little whiskey... Here, Ingemar finds balance in the love of other people, so one is left, not with a sense of despair, but with a sense of hope in the midst of sorrow and loss.

    Note: I recommend the subtitled version over the dubbed version, as the language and inflections should be experienced in full....more info

  • My Life As a Dog- Criterion
    My life As a Dog is one of my favorite movies ever. The only changes I have noticed in the subtitles on the Criterion edition are that the line, "keep a tight rope," was changed to "keep up the tension," and that "bubbles" on the glass were changed to "blisters." There are no subtitles for "Shall We Go to Your Place, or My Place, or Each Go Home Alone?" Which I found to be a detractor. The trailer and main menu are satisfying, but the only really great part to the disc is the movie, the rest is filler....more info
  • One of my best 5 (but don't miss the helicopter ^_^)
    See it.

    Heartwarming.
    Make you think of your younger days-your brothers and parents.
    Make you smile.
    Something are growing at those ages!
    Definitely one of my best 5 movies.

    And final bonus. When they were filming the train from the birds' view, they forgot the legs of helicopter. Enjoy it.
    9/11/2001...more info

  • My Life as a Dog
    Hallstr?m's winning tribute to the joys and sorrows of childhood skillfully balances bleak realism with poignant humor. It's hard not to love Glazelius, both for his outstanding performance and for his character's habit of comparing himself to those (like Laika) he believes are worse off. "My Life" is filled with rich characters and priceless scenes, like Ingemar's punishing loss in the boxing ring to a tomboy he's got a crush on, and the disquieting interactions he has with his ailing mother. Hallstr?m later helmed big Hollywood projects like "The Cider House Rules" and "Chocolat," but here he's at his heart-piercing best....more info
  • One you won't forget
    This movie is tragic and charming, a strange dichotemy that works well. The connection the boy feels to Laika, the abandoned Russian space dog, is painfully on target, and fuels the movie. I did a project on this movie for a film class I had in college. I've seen it several times, and each time enjoyed it, despite the weird sexual stuff that seems to spring up every so often. It's not a vulgar movie by any means, just honest. If you have a brain in your head, you'll enjoy it. Trust me....more info
  • Very touching film. Transfer to DVD second-rate.
    I don't think I could add anything to previous reviews that speak so eloquently of the many touching qualities of this film. It frequently moves the heart to both laughter and tears throughout its 140 minutes; and it truly deserves to be labled a a classic. For that reason the second-rate quality of the transfer to DVD is regrettable. While the power of the story overcomes technical shortcomings, buyers should know the last minutes of the film contain contain annoying scratches and video "schmutz." Even though the single DVD is priced on a premium level, the transfer is not even equal to what is found on many bargain-priced discs. In spite of these technical drawbacks, this is still a disc that I treasure....more info
  • Everyone should watch this . . .
    I have seen "my life as a dog" in the foreignmoviesection of my video store, and have always been put off by thecover. It looked too cheesy. And I wasn't thrilled about watching an80s movie. But one Saturday, I finally decided to give it a shot. Iwatch a lot of foreign movies, and I figured I'd watch this oneeventually. Within five minutes of this movie, I was hooked. I don'tthink it matters what type of person you are--a softie or aroughneck--you can relate to this little boy's life. We all know whatit's like to be a child--all the trauma and all the joy And the coming of age parts are just as indelible: his little girlfriend; hisodd inability to drink a full glass; his friendship with the tomboy;his fall thru the glass ceiling from peeking at the naked lady. . . This is a thoroughly entertaining movie for people of allages. I highly recommend it. Like "Stand By Me", this movieis an accurate portrayal of childhood--one of the best. (Don't letthe cover and the age of this movie put you off)....more info
  • When bad transfers happen to good films...
    This was so disappointing to me. "My Life as a Dog" was one of my all-time favorite films. I already had it on video, and wanted to have a cleaner copy on DVD, as well as some features.

    ! IT IS NOT, I repeat, *NOT* WIDESCREEN!

    Worse, the transfer is grainy, and there seems to be little or no remastering. CRITERION would do a bang-up job on this film, it's just a shame that so many distributers can't get their act together and put a little effort into what they're doing.

    If you want to hear commentary, see it in its original film ratio, or even see a decent transfer for heaven's sake, go to Criterion's web-site and send them a message that you want to see this film done right.

    You might also go to Fox Lorber's web site, and let them know you expect more than VHS-on-a-disk. DVD, as a media, is in a critical state right now, and the studios are trying to see if the general public will accept bare-bones releases. We need to let them know that we won't....more info

  • Lasse Hallstrom Did It Again
    the reason i have the chance to see this excellent movie is because our english film-study project is based on the film. i think the boy Ingemal is as eccentric and intriguing at the same time.The characteristic of his uncle is also very amusing and interesting. Overall this film deserves good critics and thumbs-up performance by the boy. If you're a true film lover,it would be a loss if you miss it!...more info
  • Best Movie I've seen
    This is truly a bery good well acted,written,and produced film. I can't stop watching it. I'm not very fluent in Swedish,but the subtitles are great. You really get a feel for the Swedush culture. Rent or buy this movie,you wont regreat it!...more info
  • A film for good readers and those who love them
    This truly is a wonderful film that takes place in 1960. It is about a little boy who suffers a series of tragedies, most of all the death of his mother. As is typical in such situations, little Ingemar loved her but doesn't know how deeply he loved her until she was gone. It's a sad lesson, but only one of many he learns in the course of this story, wherein the drama is balanced quite nicely with humor and whimsy. Kinda like life, huh?

    The film shows us the deeper wisdom Ingemar attains from his tragedies, but it also shares with us, with a uniquely Swedish touch, the beginnings of his innocent introduction to the idea of sex. Just on the beginning cusp of puberty, Ingemar has a young blonde girlfriend who isn't very interested in the subject but goes along with childlike play about "getting married"; an aggressive tomboy girlfriend who is more interested in the subject than he is, which makes him uncomfortable; a sick old man who has him read often from a lingerie catalog; his uncle, who is obsessed with breasts; and a beautiful blonde woman, a surrogate mother, who poses nude for a local sculptor. These parts of Ingemar's awakening are presented with beautiful sweetness and humor, with scarcely a bit of prurient titillation.

    There are so many wonderful characters here that I'll not go into detail, as this review would drag on and on. Suffice to say that the stories told here do a wonderful job of making us familiar with multiple characters and a year in their world. I didn't notice any annoying loose ends dangling, nor any false notes in the story or its execution. The level of acting here is terrific, a testament to Hallstrom's direction, where only a few of the non-speaking childrens' roles carry any hint of amateurishness. There is some nudity and PG language, so take that into advisement; bottom line, even though the film is mostly full of children, it's not a kid's film. Aside from the nudity (which would certainly be more titillating to pubescent boys than adults), the story is about coming of age, told with a nostalgia only grasped by adults.

    I was going to comment on the fact that the "dog" title seems ironic with the director named Lasse, but perhaps it's enough to point that out. Somehow the mild humor seems compatible with this lovely little film. Hallstrom is also known for the nearly perfect "What's Eating Gilbert Grape" and, unfortunately, the superficially pretty but confused and predictable "Chocolat."

    "My Life As a Dog" is a Swedish film with subtitles. The subtitles seem quite thorough, whereas some foreign language films (Roman Polanski's "Knife In the Water," for example) suffer through inadequate subtitles where much is said and little is translated. In this film it's essential to read the subtitles quickly, as they tend to zip past because much is said. Just a note in case you struggle with this aspect of such a film; unfortunately only the Swedish soundtrack is included here, no dubbing into English. I'm generally not much on foreign language films; for years the only such film among my favorites was "Das Boot," until I discovered "Salaam Bombay!" and this gem. It's worth the extra work for sure....more info
  • Great Movie, DVD Sucks
    Awesome movie. Thank God, I have it on video, because the DVD tranfer is horrible. To anyone investing in a dvd collection that wants to include this move. Buy it on vhs and wait until they re-release it on dvd. I give this five stars because it is still a good movie....more info
  • One Part Humor, One Part Poignant, One Part Disturbing
    "My Life as a Dog" is a most unusual and most enjoyable movie. It is a Swedish film which I watched with the aid of subtitles. It would seem to qualify as a "coming of age" movie because it is about a 12 year old boy and his learning about sex and human fraility. Yet there is so much more to the story that it seems wrong to limit its' definition.

    I missed the first couple of minutes of the movie but I doubt that there was some grandiose explanation as to what was about to transpire. What I saw was the story of a 12 year old boy (Ingemar) whose mother is ill enough that it affects their relationship. (His father is not a part of his life). At times she is his best friend and at times she is his worst enemy (with his brother a close second). Maybe that strikes us somewhat of our own relationships with our parents at that age. However, this relationship seems well beyond the ordinary. Ingemar has a child's normal curiosity and he seems to always being doing the wrong thing; usually as a result of something his brother did. This strains his mother's frail health. At one point, the mother needs so much peace and quiet that Ingemar is sent to live with his uncle up north. There the movie takes a turn for the better from our perspective. His uncle is a happy-go-lucky fellow who takes Ingemar under his wing. Ingemar makes many friends and seems to be having such a good time that we think it's too bad that he has to return home to mama after a few months. However, the director lets us know that home is where Ingemar's heart is. His heart is also with his dog who was sent to the kennel when Ingemar left for the summer. Well, enough of the plot.

    The many scenes throughout the movie are well written directed and acted. Sometimes the movie seems more of a sequence of scenes rather than a movie with a theme. However, the theme is there and it was the title of the movie that helped me see it. Ingemar has a number of scenes where he shares his youthful thoughts and observations. He is fascinated by Laitka, the Russian dog who went up in space (this movie takes place around the late 1950's). He understood Laitka to have died because the Russians did not send along enough food or make any arrangements for his return; they just used him for their purposes and then were done with him. I understood this to be Ingemar's life to that point. He was brought into the world without any proper provisions for sufficient love and nurturing. His future is unplanned as he is sent to wherever he'll fit in without any real concern as to what best for him. Ultimately, there is no place for him to return to.

    This is an excellent movie that combines a great script, excellent directing, and very good acting. The cast is all new to me and they were well-assembled. There are a lot of unusual characters that give the movie a special sort of seaoning.

    "My Life as a Dog" is not a depressing movie. Rather, there is hope as the movie leaves us knowing that Ingemar has lost his two best friends in the world but has just discovered that he is starting to find some replacements. ...more info
  • Ingemar's Journey
    Heartbreaking. I love this film. It follows young Ingemar, who is thrown around from place to place (hence the title) after his mother becomes too ill to take care of him. Ingemar is a shy, but intelligent boy, and the narration, told in metaphors, captures the spirit of children's innocence and wisdom...more info
  • A film like this comes along once in a decade.
    This film, so my mother assures me, was to the 1980's what Visconti's "Death in Venice" was to the 1970's. People went to see it again and again in the cinema and argued about it's meaning for years afterwards.

    Whatever this film has, it touches a nerve. Whether it's the remarkable performance of Anton Glanzelius or the whole 'growing up' thing, I don't know. Glanzelius appears so vulnerable one wants to take him home and bring him up as one's own kid brother. I know of people who made sound tapes of the film in the cinema before the fim was available on video just to hear the kid speak Swedish. [The video version looks worse than the pirate video I made in a cinema in Manhatten, but never mind]. It's a great great film, and, a sort of pre-pubescent Fight Club in it's way....more info

  • This is what you have been looking for!
    Occasionally life offers pearls that are accessible. This is one of them. Buy it, please! You will be richer for it....more info
  • Poignant, beautiful film -- nice DVD too
    I caught My Life as a Dog on PBS many years ago. To those who have not seen this film, it's a bittersweet tear jerker told from a boy's point of view (somewhat similar to Christmas Story), filled with many super funny scenes, dramas, and surprises.

    Directory Lasse Hallstr?m has gone to make a number of popular films in Hollywood (Cider House Rules, Chocolat, Shipping News, What's Eating Gilbert Grape), but I think this Swedish precursor is his superior work. His signature beautiful images (by cinematographer J?rgen Persson), filled with quirky yet fully defined supporting characters, and filled with heartwarming scenes.

    Criterion's DVD is superior to all previous video presentations, remastered in high definition and presented in widescreen anamorphic video and original mono Swedish sound with faithful English subtitle. The images look a bit grainy, but I think very faithful to director's intention (who has supervised and approved the transfer) and completely satisfying.

    The DVD is short of special features (just interview with Hallstr?m, his early short TV feature "Shall With Go to My or Your Place or Each Go Home Alne", and trailer). Highly recommended....more info

  • My favorite movie
    Why is this my favorite movie? Because it simply presents life, in all its joys, griefs, paradoxes and mysteries. What puts this movie in a class by itself is the spirit of hope that runs through the movie, especially in the main character, Ingmar, whose indomitable spirit shines in the face of change and tragedy. Yet the movie never drifts into sentimentality. In the end, it's a movie about the mystery of love.

    The central theme is Ingmar's "life as a dog." Like the dog that was shot into space by the Soviet's without regard to its safe return to earth, Ingmar, like most of us, seems to have been "shot into life" alone. The movie is a series of vignettes that combine in what seems to be a haphazard manner, but reflects, to my mind, the most meaningful and transcendant moments of our lives, moments that simply cannot be categorized.

    These moments are funny, sad, tragic, hopeful, and above all, poignant. The scene where Ingmar boxes with his tomboy friend, ending in an embrace, defies words in its sublimity. The scene in which Ingmar's mother breaks down, is absolutely heartbreaking. And the wistful scenes of Ingmar's "marriage" to the neighbor girl, and his brother's description of intercourse to the neighborhood children, will remind you of the revelations of youth.

    But there are insights into adulthood as well, as the happy-go-lucky uncle, and his happy but impish bride, contrast with the prim and glum foster parents, the perverted modern artist, and the man who is perpetually fixing his roof.

    In the end, you'll be celebrating with Sweden, as Ingmar (get it?) Johanson triumphs over Floyd Patterson. Hurrah Sweden! Hurrah humanity!
    ...more info
  • Unforgettable
    I'm not going to write anything sophisticated or technical about this movie (I leave that to the experts). I saw it 15 years ago, when I was 15 and, since then, it has been on my mind (at the end, and this might be a reason to understand why I kept it forever, I saw it six times). Today I'm starting my DVD collection and My Life as a Dog has to be there as a humble tribute to this masterpiece....more info
  • One of the top ten films ever made
    This movie tugs at your heart strings in a completely honest way. The movie does not patronise or make pathetic the boy hero who has to endure. It is the very opposite of saccharine glop.

    It is a profoundly optimistic and yet realistic movie. The movie is peppered with memorable eccentric and kind characters.


    ...more info
  • My favorite movie
    Why is this my favorite movie? Because it simply presents life, in all its joys, griefs, paradoxes and mysteries. What puts this movie in a class by itself is the spirit of hope that runs through the movie, especially in the main character, Ingmar, whose indomitable spirit shines in the face of change and tragedy. Yet the movie never drifts into sentimentality. In the end, it's a movie about the mystery of love.

    The central theme is Ingmar's "life as a dog." Like the dog that was shot into space by the Soviet's without regard to its safe return to earth, Ingmar, like most of us, seems to have been "shot into life" alone. The movie is a series of vignettes that combine in what seems to be a haphazard manner, but reflects, to my mind, the most meaningful and transcendant moments of our lives, moments that simply cannot be categorized.

    These moments are funny, sad, tragic, hopeful, and above all, poignant. The scene where Ingmar boxes with his tomboy friend, ending in an embrace, defies words in its sublimity. The scene in which Ingmar's mother breaks down, is absolutely heartbreaking. And the wistful scenes of Ingmar's "marriage" to the neighbor girl, and his brother's description of intercourse to the neighborhood children, will remind you of the revelations of youth.

    But there are insights into adulthood as well, as the happy-go-lucky uncle, and his happy but impish bride, contrast with the prim and glum foster parents, the perverted modern artist, and the man who is perpetually fixing his roof.

    In the end, you'll be celebrating with Sweden, as Ingmar (get it?) Johanson triumphs over Floyd Patterson. Hurrah Sweden! Hurrah humanity!
    ...more info
  • Heartbreaking and Inspiring
    It's hard to believe 20 years have passed since "My Life As A Dog" hit the international circuit and captured the hearts of audiences worldwide. Here it is again and the story has lost nothing of its relevance. Young, Anton Glanzlius gives a powerful, amazing, unaffected and emotionally enormous portrait of a young boy who's world is falling apart and who learns to cope and accept the new direction life takes him.

    I could go on and on, but don't need to. Anyone who has seen this film already knows, and anyone who hasn't seen it, simply must. One of the best Swedish films I know. Certainly one of the most loved.




    ...more info
  • One Part Humor, One Part Poignant, One Part Disturbing
    "My Life as a Dog" is a most unusual and most enjoyable movie. It is a Swedish film which I watched with the aid of subtitles. It would seem to qualify as a "coming of age" movie because it is about a 12 year old boy and his learning about sex and human fraility. Yet there is so much more to the story that it seems wrong to limit its' definition.

    I missed the first couple of minutes of the movie but I doubt that there was some grandiose explanation as to what was about to transpire. What I saw was the story of a 12 year old boy (Ingemar) whose mother is ill enough that it affects their relationship. (His father is not a part of his life). At times she is his best friend and at times she is his worst enemy (with his brother a close second). Maybe that strikes us somewhat of our own relationships with our parents at that age. However, this relationship seems well beyond the ordinary. Ingemar has a child's normal curiosity and he seems to always being doing the wrong thing; usually as a result of something his brother did. This strains his mother's frail health. At one point, the mother needs so much peace and quiet that Ingemar is sent to live with his uncle up north. There the movie takes a turn for the better from our perspective. His uncle is a happy-go-lucky fellow who takes Ingemar under his wing. Ingemar makes many friends and seems to be having such a good time that we think it's too bad that he has to return home to mama after a few months. However, the director lets us know that home is where Ingemar's heart is. His heart is also with his dog who was sent to the kennel when Ingemar left for the summer. Well, enough of the plot.

    The many scenes throughout the movie are well written directed and acted. Sometimes the movie seems more of a sequence of scenes rather than a movie with a theme. However, the theme is there and it was the title of the movie that helped me see it. Ingemar has a number of scenes where he shares his youthful thoughts and observations. He is fascinated by Laitka, the Russian dog who went up in space (this movie takes place around the late 1950's). He understood Laitka to have died because the Russians did not send along enough food or make any arrangements for his return; they just used him for their purposes and then were done with him. I understood this to be Ingemar's life to that point. He was brought into the world without any proper provisions for sufficient love and nurturing. His future is unplanned as he is sent to wherever he'll fit in without any real concern as to what best for him. Ultimately, there is no place for him to return to.

    This is an excellent movie that combines a great script, excellent directing, and very good acting. The cast is all new to me and they were well-assembled. There are a lot of unusual characters that give the movie a special sort of seaoning.

    "My Life as a Dog" is not a depressing movie. Rather, there is hope as the movie leaves us knowing that Ingemar has lost his two best friends in the world but has just discovered that he is starting to find some replacements. ...more info

 

 
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