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My Life As A Dog [DVD]

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Product details

  • Actors: Anton Glanzelius, Tomas von Brömssen, Anki Lidén, Melinda Kinnaman, Kicki Rundgren
  • Directors: Lasse Hallström
  • Writers: Lasse Hallström, Brasse Brännström, Per Berglund, Reidar Jönsson
  • Producers: Waldemar Bergendahl
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: Swedish
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: Momentum
  • DVD Release Date: 28 May 2001
  • Run Time: 97 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005B73K
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 44,708 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Product Description

A 12-year-old boy (Anton Glanzelius) is sent to stay with an aunt and uncle in the country when his mother becomes ill. As he learns, with the help of the locals, to cope with her illness and his own propensity for mischief, he compares himself to Leika, the Russian dog shot into space. The novel on which the film is based is largely autobiographical.


Simultaneously elegiac and raw, My Life as a Dog is an uneven--but unforgettable--tearjerker which 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 Hallström 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. 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. Swedish, with subtitles --Miles Bethany,

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 9 April 2001
Format: VHS Tape
By the time the end credits rolled, "My Life as a Dog" had bounded on to my lap, presented it's paw, and gatecrashed my Top 10 Favourite Films of All Time. Up there with Midnight Cowboy, Stand by Me, Radio Days and The Lady from Shanghai. That Good. It is at least 10 years since I saw a film that connected with me this forcefully. It is Swedish and so subtitled - therefore viewing while Double Vision Drunk is not a practical option. But bear with it - it's worth the effort! Essentially a snapshot of a young boy's life, this film contains no explosions, very little violence, no sex and the budget appears to have been minimal. Who cares? It made me laugh out loud several times, literally made my spine tingle with the acuteness of it's observations on growing pains and, bearing in mind that I was watching it in company, provided at least 4 mortifying "Hold on!There's something in my eye" moments.
The story is set in Sweden in what appears to be the late 1950s or early 1960s. The central character is Ingmar, who is a boy of about 12 or 13 years of age. His mother is ill in some unspecified way, and seems to be deteriorating. We presume that the father is either dead or long gone. His brother is a sullen, unsympathetic character, although there is a hint that his demeanour is a defence mechanism in the face of what is an uncertain future. Ingmar dotes on a dog called Sikan. His mother tells him that he is to travel to a country village to visit his uncle and aunt, to allow her to recuperate. Ingmar is understandably perturbed by this development but has no option in the matter. So we have the heart wrenching themes of impending tragedy and childhood powerlessness established very early on in the film. A little bleak, to say the least.
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Kerr TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 18 Nov 2009
Format: DVD
My Life As A Dog is based around the life of Ingemar (played by Anton Glanzelius) a 12 year old boy, who along with his older brother have a tendency to cause or to get in trouble. When they become too much for their seriously ill mother to handle (who has been advised by the doctor to get some peace and quiet) Ingemar is sent to live with his relatives. Separated from his mother, his brother, his dog, and everything he has ever known, he thinks of himself similar to the first Dog in space who had no say in where he went. However he soon finds himself surrounded by caring relatives and welcoming classmates. Ingemar joins the boy's football team, starts to play boxing, and quickly makes friends. He also quickly develops a mutual friendship with a similarly aged girl called Sage (who is actually pretending to be boy so she can hang out with the boys and continue to play football.) She entrusts him with the knowledge of her true sex and seeks his help in keeping the fact hidden. All of which results in a heart warming, beautiful and unique picture.

While the film has varying themes and subplots throughout, careful editing and good directing has ensured that things neither become boring nor confusing. While there is a clear cut contrast between the darker moments and the more light hearted moments "My Life As A Dog" effectively manages to maintain the viewers interest at all times, and I personally couldn't turn away from the screen.

The acting from all is second to none and cannot be faulted in anyway possible. Most note worthy however are the two child actors Ingemar and Sage (Anton Glanzelius and Melinda Kinnaman respectively) who both manage to deliver exceptional performances.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By D. Richards on 30 Mar 2007
Format: DVD
An early movie from Lasse Hallström (director of countless ABBA videos, "What's Eating Gilbert Grape", "The Cider House Rules", "Cocolat").

This Swedish language movie is one of my favourite movies of all time. The sad coming-of-age tale of Ingmar and his dying mother will fail to move even the hardest cynic.

The movie explores many interesting themes around loss and the loss of innocence, and it does it in a beautiful way that is both funny and heartbreaking at the same time.

The soliloquies where Ingmar reflects on the fate of Laika the space dog are particularly moving. Laika was a dog put into a sputnik by the Russians, and left to orbit the earth, eventually dying of either starvation or loneliness. Sure, it sounds bleak when Ingmar compares this to his own situation, but the movie features many explosively funny moments that will have you laughing for some time.

A very warm movie that you will carry with you indefinitely.

Highly, highly recommended.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By on 25 July 2001
Format: DVD
This is a film that has everything.Poignant,funny,acutely observed,tender,tragic and ultimately very uplifting. The story of Ingemar growing up in Sweden in the 1950,s is told with extraordinary insight into the mind of a young boy. The plot line has a neat geometry.Ingemar's mother is sick (dying of T.B.).He is dispatched to relatives in the country where he experiences a magical summer full of incident,encounters with eccentrics,and a growing awareness of the opposite sex.He comes home to his mothers sick bed and is sent off again to the rural relatives for the Winter. The change of season mirrors the change in mood of the film and Ingemar faces the bitter reality of a world of uncertainty and change. Hallstrom is dealing with some very ambitious themes in this film and the mixture of wryly observed humour and naked raw emotion deliver a very powerful experience for the viewer.
The one criticism that might be levelled at this film is the occassional teetering on the edge of an overdone sentimentality but overall it is easy to forgive a lot given the overall result. My Life As A Dog has a universal appeal to anyone who had a childhood. It is an absolute must see.And dont be put off by it being Swedish and matters not a jot.
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