Simultaneously elegiac and raw, this uneven--but unforgettable--tearjerker 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. In Swedish, with subtitles. 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
. --Miles Bethany
My Life as a Dog (Mitt liv som hund) tells the story of Ingemar, a twelve-year-old from a working-class family sent to live with his uncle in a country village when his mother falls ill. There, the boy finds both refuge from his misfortunes and unexpected adventure with the help of the town’s warmhearted eccentrics. Featuring an incredibly mature and unaffected performance from the young Anton Glanzelius, this is a beloved and bittersweet evocation of the struggles and joys of childhood from Oscar-nominated director Lasse Hallström (The Cider House Rules).
DIRECTOR-APPROVED BLU-RAY SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES • High-definition digital transfer, approved by director Lasse Hallström, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack • Shall We Go to My or Your Place or Each Go Home Alone? (1973), a fifty-two-minute film by Hallström • Video interview with Hallström from 2003 • Original theatrical trailer • PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by film critic Michael Atkinson and an appreciation by the late author Kurt Vonnegut