My Dog Tulip
(Unrated, 1:21:36, Released 2010)
|Release Date:||Sep 1, 2010|
|DVD Release Date:||Jul 26, 2011|
|Starring:||Christopher Plummer, Lynn Redgrave, Isabella Rossellini, Peter Gerety, Brian Murray, Paul Hecht, Euan Morton|
|Directed by:||Paul Fierlinger, Sandra Fierlinger|
|Synopsis:||A bittersweet account of the author's 14-year relationship with his adopted Alsatian, MY DOG TULIP was written, directed and animated by award-winning filmmakers Paul and Sandra Fierlinger, and is the first animated feature ever to be entirely hand drawn and painted utilizing paperless computer technology. An official selection of the 2009 Toronto International Film Festival, MY DOG TULIP is based on the book by British author and distinguished man of letters J.R. Ackerley. Ackerley hardly thought of himself as a dog lover when, in middle age, he came to adopt Tulip - a beautiful, yet intolerable 18-month-old German shepherd. To his surprise, she turned out to be the love of his life, the ideal companion he had been searching for in vain. Originally published in England in 1956, My Dog Tulip is now published in the US by the New York Review of Books, and is the best-selling title in their Classics Series. In vivid and sometimes startling detail, the film reveals Tulip's often erratic behavior, canine tastes, and Ackerley's determined efforts to ensure an existence of perfect happiness for her. -- (C) New Yorker|
|Full movie details|
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November 23, 2011
Although My Dog Tulip will appeal to Dog lovers for obvious reasons, it will probably appeal more to fans of J.R. Ackerley. I haven't yet read the book but I have read 'We think the world of you' and it now seems obvious that Evie the German shepherd from that story was based on the real life Tulip, which excited my quite a bit as it is one of my favourite books. My Dog Tulip is a warts and all story about dogs; dogs bark, they jump up at you, they poo and do other such uncivilised things. They do not skateboard or wear baseball hats! Everything about this animated adaptation is perfect, I wouldn't change a thing and it is now quite firmly in my favourite films of all time.
January 9, 2011
"My Dog Tulip" is a bittersweet animated film of J.R. Ackerley's recollections of a dog he owned in the years during and after World War II when he no longer was a young man. But this is not just any dog. It is an Alsatian female, Tulip, that he rescues from a working class family that is apparently incapable of caring for it since they never took it for walks, leaving the dog's social sklls woefully underdeveloped. So dog and owner have their fair share of kinks to work out in their relationshiip but as time wears on and they get to know each other better, things go much smoother.
"My Dog Tulip" is animated in a rough hand drawn style with occasional interludes that are even cruder looking, like they are directly pulled from Ackerley's sketch pad. It is almost as if he is writing the film as we are watching it. The only thing that might trouble potential viewers is the scatalogical details of Tulip's habits which at times definitely feel like too much information.(Also remember that the movie is set in a less civilized time when there were no pooper scooper laws.) Thankfully, this is not played for laughs but used as a way of showing how Tulip communicates with her owner, as she makes her feelings clear. Some of which actually reminded me of the family dog I had when I was growing up. All of which plays well into what the author is saying about the search for the perfect friend which he finds in a dog. But for me, a dog would not be perfect since they still have to be taken care of and looked after and that's not really the basis for any kind of healthy relationship.(Plus, I have killed off plants when I've tried to look after them.) On the other hand, as a friend put it, dogs may ruin your rug but they will not ruin your life, unlike children.
December 16, 2011
*** out of ****
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.
May 7, 2011
Grumpy old man adopts idiosyncratic German Shepherd and they both lived happily ever after. Based on the book by J R Ackerley, beautifully animated and perfectly narrated by Christpher Plummer. More information about dog poo, wormings and the mating practices of dogs in heat than there was in Lady And The Tramp.
sayers1977February 11, 2013
Wittily narrated by Plummer this a cartoon that dog-lovers will adore but if you don't really appreciate the bond with your pet you may find it a little boring. The animation is very simple (similar to 'Yellow Submarine') but I found it a nice contrast to Disney and the film has a very British sensibility. The cartoon is an honest account of looking after and loving a pet and so therefore there are lots of scenes of the dog pooing and being on heat. After a while the scenes of trying to find a mate for Tulip begin to drag and the whole thing is probably 20 minutes too long but I still enjoyed it for trying to be different.
September 7, 2011
I really enjoyed the raw style of the animations, but this is not the standard heart-string pulling dog story. The story of Tulip is, form the best I can surmise, an allegory to Ackerley's life as a homosexual between WWI and WWII. The story telling and imagery are purposely graphic and insulting to the senses and not suited for children (or dog lovers either).
December 30, 2010
Nice tale about a man and his dog. A must see for all dog owners.
May 20, 2012
Touching, and surprisingly not overly sentimental, with a beautifully curious animation style that itself is a character, this film depicts the messier (and, therefore, more accurate) side of pet owning and adoring. If you've ever felt kindred to a canine, particularly a troublesome one, you will appreciate the understated and hilarious poetry contained within. (It also doesn't hurt to be an Anglophile.)
November 18, 2011
Whether you are a dog person or a cat person, the bottom line is you probably enjoy a companion, whatever form that companion may come in. For J.R. Ackerley, it was Tulip, his Alsatian. Ackerley's memoir, on which this film is based, was a bestseller and largely thanks to the droves of people who appreciated his candor on the matters of owning a pet, the good with the bad, and especially the strange. The narrative of the film follows Ackerley as he gets to know his new friend, Tulip, and all the naughty and natural things she does and requires.
The film does not shy away from the honest truth of the situation, it covers every bit of dog ownership in full detail. From the cleaning up of the dog's poop, to her desire to mate, nothing is out of bounds for this film, and that kind of honesty is refreshing. It depicts the natural beauty of that which humans often find taboo or grotesque in a casual matter-of-fact manner. And that is what makes the film work as well as it does. In addition, the unfinished style of the animation mirrors the raw simplicity of the story. It does not surpass 90 minutes and it doesn't have to because the story it is telling is so simple.
Despite the idea of a tale about a man and his dog, told in animated style, the film is not for kids, a sentiment that has been mirrored by droves of other critics. The subject matter is just too forward for kids audiences. Not only that, but the narrative is also very lyrical, describing in detail the every day affairs of Ackerley and his pup. I am sure that these episodes are quite faithful to the memoir, so sure, in fact, that I fear that I needn't seek out the memoir for any further detail. There is often a fuss made when a film changes things to a book, but I fear the opposite here.
The story being told seems much better suited to the memoir form, which means that while it may be interesting, I don't think it lends itself too well to the visual medium, at least not when the adaptation is done in such a bland manner. I really can't complain too much past that minor quibble. It is a well made little film with some really refreshing methods and ideas. It just wasn't something that grabbed me at any point during the film.
September 7, 2010
A lovely and endearing animated film for adults, an adaptation of an actual memoir. The genuine emotion and investment that comes through in the animation is remarkable, especially considering it was all done in TVPaint. It's a must-see for all dog owners and dog lovers.