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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This film is for life - not just for Christmas
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...
Published on 9 April 2001

versus
0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great film. Misleading image. Bad packaging.
The film is great. For the film I'd give 5 stars.

But Amazon is not IMDB. I'm rating the whole product. The photograph of the DVD cover here does not match the actual item I received. Also, the DVD case is fragile and easy to break (I broken it while opening it). Overall the item looks cheap and badly presented.
Published on 20 Jun 2012 by Jing Tang


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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This film is for life - not just for Christmas, 9 April 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: My Life As A Dog [VHS] (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.
However, his relatives are extremely welcoming people and his uncle,it transpires, has a wonderful childlike, surreal imagination and sense of humour. His description at the dinner table of how sausages are made is truly bizarre and provided the first spine tingling moment! The film unfolds in little episodes which delight with the way in which they depict adolescent awkwardness - the trials of attending a new school, making new friends and trying to fit in; the agonising awkwardness of the adolescent crush. The detail is wonderful. One scene depicting the obligatory tunelessness of a school recorder ensemble triggered vivid flashbacks to my own childhood. And that's the beauty of it. The themes are universal. I went to school in Nottingham and North Wales in the 1970s. A world away from Ingmar. And yet I identified with every theme explored in this film.
The film is littered with weird and wonderful characters - one local is something of a home grown Houdini , constantly setting up outlandish amateur feats of death defying physical prowess such as tightrope walking and swimming under ice. When word arrives that his impromptu shows are about to start, the whole village downs tools and congregates to gasp at his near-disastrous exploits, and this sense of community lends the film a nostalgic (but never syrupy)glow. Also the film is beautifully enhanced by Ingmar's intermittent voiceover. Always delivered against a still backdrop of a magical starlit sky, Ingmar muses (off camera and presumably as he is drifting off to sleep) on various events such as the fate of Laika, the first dog in space. These moments provide him and the viewer with little pockets of serenity amongst the turmoil of his "daylife". This adds to the sense of childlike wonder. Long before the credits rolled I knew that this was a film that i would re-visit again and again. It is achingly funny and heartbreaking by turns. Riddled with the frailty and absurdity of life. Hold on! I've just changed my mind. Make that Top 5!
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Truly Wonderful Piece Of Swedish Cinema, 18 Nov 2009
By 
Andrew Kerr (Scotland) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
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. Taking into account the difficulty of a number of scenes throughout the film, and the complex range of emotions and situations demanded from them, they really are to be applauded. The characters have been brilliantly created and are all magnificent to encounter. Each one comes across on the screen as three dimensional and so realistic, at times it's like they've been plucked out of real life.

My Life As A Dog also has its fair share of humour that's been successfully integrated seamlessly into the film. One scene that comes to mind is during a football penalty. Some of the boys and Saga are lined up, and the boys are doing what comes naturally by protecting their groins with their hands, but Sage (who is still pretending to be a boy) is wrongly protecting her chest. It takes a nudge and a quick glace downwards from Ingemar to remind her. Not to forget several scenes where an old bedridden man calls upon Ingemar to read him catalogue descriptions of woman's underwear.

Regardless of how bad things get Ingemar tends to always compare himself to someone worse than himself, such as a man who was killed by a javelin while taking a shortcut. It's an interesting control method and helps the character cope with much heartache and abandonment.

My Life As A Dog is a film that I've been avoiding reviewing for some time now; simply because it is such a beautiful and flawless film I doubted that I could do it justice in writing. However I hope that I have successfully conveyed this to you and that you will now seriously consider both watching and buying a truly wonderful piece of cinema. I cannot over emphasize how good the film is.

On a final note I should point out that the film does contain a degree of nudity, both full frontal female used in an artistic setting, and several scenes involving Sage used in a coming of age and sexual awakening setting. As well as some crude discussion at the beginning of the film regarding what girls have "inside of them" and what boys 'should' do. I mention all of this owing to the films PG rating which some viewers and or parents may consider unsuitable so viewer caution is advised in that respect.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful movie from director Lasse Hallström, 30 Mar 2007
By 
D. Richards (Christchurch, New Zealand) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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
5.0 out of 5 stars a must see for anyone who had a childhood, 25 July 2001
By 
This review is from: My Life As A Dog [DVD] (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 subtitled....it matters not a jot.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a wonderfully deep portrait of childhood, difficult and delightful, 14 Sep 2011
By 
rob crawford "Rob Crawford" (Balmette Talloires, France) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This film has many levels, all from the point of view of an energetic, funny, and intelligent child. His father is out of the picture and his mother is ill, so he moves and makes a group of friends. They go about living and playing in the way that children do, thinking and talking about things that stick in their minds, like the boy's care that a dog was sent into space by the Soviets. It truly captures the spirit of their being, in a way that completely transported me into their world. Anything can be an adventure, like boxing, the onset of puberty, or wanting a dog. And there is the beauty of purely innocent friendship, with its intimacy, quick rages, and easy reconciliations.

On another level, there are realities that press on the boy, that puncture the belief that the world is a good place. This too is part of growing up, though it doesn't have to be as hard as this. An extended family is a great help, though again as in reality it isn't always enough to offer succor. It is moving and completely believable.

Some of my friends who had difficult childhoods found this film extremely depressing. That is certainly part of it. But there is also the positive side. I laughed, I remembered, I even wept. It is that powerful and can be watched many times. It has the joy, too.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars sniff, 24 Dec 2008
By 
N. Carley "Neil" (Wiltshire UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: My Life As A Dog [DVD] (DVD)
Blimey.
If you watch this film without wetting your cheeks then you are not alive.
It's hard to find something objective to say about a film with which I can find no fault, beautiful script, beautiful location, beautiful direction, the star isn't a child actor, he is an actor to rival most adults, buy it now.
Sad, funny, sweet but not sentimental, perfect.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "My Life As A Dog" on BLU RAY - Compatibility Issues For UK and EUROPEAN Buyers..., 28 Feb 2014
By 
Mark Barry "Mark Barry" (London) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
As you've probably worked out - the vast majority of reviews for the wonderfully touching "My Life As A Dog" are for the 'DVD' version. And at present (February 2014) this 1985 Euro nugget is only available on 'BLU RAY' in the States. But therein lies a problem for UK and European buyers...

The US issue is REGION-A LOCKED - so it WILL NOT PLAY on most UK Blu Ray players unless they're chipped to play 'all' regions (which the vast majority aren't). Don't confuse BLU RAY players that have multi-region capability on the 'DVD' front - that won't help.

Until such time as someone else gives "My Life As A Dog" a REGION B and C release - check your BLU RAY player has the capacity to play REGION A - before you buy the pricey Criterion issue...
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant, 4 Jun 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: My Life As A Dog [DVD] (DVD)
Every year this film win's 'best film' out of 30 odd films viewed by my college. Even though it's sub-titled and does not tie into contemporary popular culture for us young students, there's something very memorising about this simple film. Your attention is never lost... a film that everybody should watch. Everyone can relate to the social circumstances viewed through the eyes of the ickle boy.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a classic and deservedly so, 16 Mar 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Unsentimental as only foreign film makers can do it and a classic of childhood that should be essential viewing for all
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5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful true to life story, 17 May 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I bought this for a Swedish friend who loved it and ended up giving it back to me to watch. I loved it too. I would recommend this dvd. Service as usual was excellent.
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My Life As A Dog [DVD]
My Life As A Dog [DVD] by Lasse Hallström (DVD - 2001)
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