"My Dog Tulip" Movie Review

9/14/2010 Posted by Admin

"My Dog Tulip"

Movie Review

Directed by Paul and Sandra Fierlinger, 83 minutes, unrated.

By our guest blogger, Aidan Thomas

The relationship between dogs and their owners has been a subject for countless films, from "Umberto D" to "Marley & Me." Films like "Umberto D" are the exception, though. Traditionally, these films fall into sentimental nonsense and a string of hijinx that can be fun, but is more often shallow. The directors of these dog-owner films (yes, I just made up a new genre) frequently struggle to fully develop the relationship between owner and dog. These directors use the relationship as a means to an end (as a conduit for low-brow humor) as opposed to exploring the relationship itself.

"My Dog Tulip," adapted from J.R. Ackerley’s novel of the same name, is a pitch-perfect film that illustrates the directors’ desire to truly explore the relationship between man and beast. The film, which was written, directed and animated by Paul and Sandra Fierlinger, is incredibly heartfelt and affecting. It tells the story of Ackerley, an elderly man who adopts Tulip, an 18-month-old Alsatian. The two are instantly inseparable and each devote their lives to ensuring the other’s happiness. Christopher Plummer (as J.R. Ackerley) narrates the film and provides a perfect accompaniment to the film’s stunning animation. Each frame of the film is meticulously hand drawn (over 1,000 drawings were used).

The film is told through a series of vignettes that in tandem with the animation have the feel of miniature picture books. Each story illustrates the intense connection between Ackerley and his new companion. The film isn’t far reaching but it does what it does very well. The stories are alternately sad and hilarious, and when viewed as a whole, they paint a beautiful portrait of Ackerley and Tulip. Toward the end of the film, as Ackerley reflects on Tulip’s intense effect on his own life, he begins to realize that dogs have a lesson to teach all of us. Dog’s live in the moment. They live for the people around them and devote themselves to ensuring that those around them know they care.

What more can one ask for from a companion?

Grade: B+

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