I've had two dogs so far in my lifetime. The first was named Chatom; I was born and then greeted by his natural warmth. He lived a good fourteen years and then passed away. A few years later; the family got Skipper, his name derived from my mother's flamboyant obsession with boating (skipper, for those who don't know, is just another word for captain).
I loved both dogs; as a good owner should. I'll even admit to having some special sort of connection with each of them, and I'll tell you: the bond shared between a man/woman and his/her dog is a peculiar, fascinating, impeccable one. Given that I've had experience with dogs - as house pets and even as friends - it comes to no surprise that quite a bit of the material covered in "My Dog Tulip" - a wonderful adult animation based on the memoirs of author J.R. Ackerley - resonates with me and the rest of the dog-loving world. It's a bittersweet and often times touching story of a boy - and a very old boy at that - and his dog; told with compassion, humor, and a general understanding of human impulses and emotions.
Since the story is indeed told as if it were a memoir; our narrator is Christopher Plummer, playing the role of Ackerley. He wants to tell us about his dog tulip; an animal that he loved for fifteen pleasant, wonderful, and insightful years. In return for his love towards the animal; the animal also loved him. The relationship is told through a short, sweet, and most definitely to-the-point story that only a guy like Ackerley could tell in the many interesting ways that he does.
For starters, I suppose it's unique that he would tackle the subject of owning - and sharing a life with - a dog with a sharp sense of humor and wit; the kind that could indeed be the sole reason behind why "My Dog Tulip" has touched some and alienated others. Along the way from beginning (Tulip's adoption) to end (Tulip's death); there's jokes about bowel movements, a dog's sexual needs, urination, and of course - dog feces. While some of these things might come off as juvenile, they are presented here as all-too-human; the collective and unfiltered thoughts of the narrator, who Plummer gives the kind of animated personality that such a man would be required to have for this story.
What can I say? I was touched, I suppose. By the end, the story comes full circle; and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't at least somewhat moved. Having owned that first dog of mine and been with him until the end, I can certainly relate to the kind of companionship that the two central characters here share. My guess is that most people can. But one common criticism, if there are any logical criticisms at all, would be the fact that "My Dog Tulip" also touches on the sad realization that Ackerley found his one love and one friend in that dog; romantic opportunities were everywhere, but he kept denying them, for he treated Tulip as if she were his lover. Therefore, he does not cheat.
The movie is slow, sentimental, and true. It takes us through the good times and the bad times that a dog owner often experiences when caring for their animal of choice; Tulip is not what most would call a "good dog", in fact, the owner is forced to scold the beast rather harshly in some spots; but the thing about us human beings is that we know the value of a dog's unconditional love. You can stop loving a dog; but they shall always love you no matter what. That is how they are; and the best moments in the film are when Tulip shows great affection for her owner. Such moments were, to say the least, easy for a guy like me to identify with.
While I love dogs to death - and also admire the deeply felt story at the center of the film - I can't say I absolutely loved it. I didn't have many problems with it; but if I have one major complaint, it's that "My Dog Tulip" failed to tug at my emotional heartstrings. Not many films can do that anyways, but since the story is so relatable, I kind of expected to be moved on a deeper level than I was. But then again, an emotional reaction is just that; and I felt something. That's probably more than a mainstream audience will ever feel from the movie; since it is unsuitable for them. The animation isn't of the highest quality - perhaps so that the story can step into the spotlight throughout - and the film never quite begs to be resonant. Yet, for those willing to see it through and admire it, there are indeed things to resonate with. "My Dog Tulip" is a gem of an animation that will probably continue to go unnoticed - since it still lies somewhere in obscurity - but I think it deserves attention and I hope that somehow, someday, and in some way; it shall find an audience that truly loves it for what it is.
Despite sporting possibly the two best quotes about the relationship between man and dogs, this animated depiction of Ackerly's book is too rife with the the significance and occurences of dog fluids. Christopher Plummer's narration and the homely, but excellent animation are endearing, but don't add enough spice to qualify this as engaging enough. While it is conceded the whole affair about Ackerly's real life story of his relationship with his dog--so titled--does make us care … more
It’s hard to tell a story about a beloved pet without getting all sentimental and treacly. I think this is probably because owning a pet is, essentially, a sentimental thing to do; it almost requires that you anthropomorphize. Almost every pet movie I can think of, from “Old Yeller” to “Marley and Me,” tells a tear-jerking story of a beast whose qualities surpass those of its humans, but that beast must die, and we must cry, and the whole dying thing must take a terribly … more
Based on a 1956 memoir of the same name by British writer J.R. Ackerley, "My Dog Tulip" is an animated film about Ackerley's relationship with a German Shepherd named Tulip that he acquired when he was "quite over 50". At the time, Ackerley, a lonely bachelor who wasn't much of a dog-lover, had all but given up on his search for an "ideal friend", which I didn't realize until later actually meant "ideal BOYfriend". Once he adopts the rambunctious … more
It's very likely that the only kind of reviews I'll ever post here are movie reviews. I'm very passionate about film; and at this point, it pretty much controls my life. Film gives us a purpose; … more
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