My Dog Tulip Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ 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.
Ryan M
Super Reviewer
½ 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.
Super Reviewer
February 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.
Super Reviewer
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).
Super Reviewer
½ December 23, 2010
Nice tale about a man and his dog. A must see for all dog owners.
½ 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.)
½ 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.
January 3, 2015
amazing animated documentary.
½ September 13, 2012
My Dog Tulip has interesting animation and realistic, intimate approach, but that approach can get way too graphic, not every dog activity is pleasant or necessary to look at, plus the main character speaks too much, the film definitely needed more silent moments. It is a film that has its warm moments and some relevant things to say, but is not that good in the end because of its approach and execution which is a two-way street.
October 13, 2013
Singular in style and execution, My Dog Tuplip, with its bracingly abrupt yet unequivocally poetic dialogue, draws many parallels between the seemingly natural activities dogs engage in and the cruel way of the human world.
February 23, 2013
My Dog Tulip independent animated film directed and animated by Paul Fierlinger (the backgrounds characters were printed by his wife Sandra Fierlinger). The film is based on the memoir of the same name by J. R. Ackerley, (BBC editor, novelist and memoirist). Christopher Plummer narrated the story as Ackerley. Film was premiered at Annecy International Animated Film Festival; it also received Honorable Mention for Best Animated Film at Ottawa Intertnational Animation Festival.

The plot of the film is about Ackerley's growing relationship with German Alsatian (Shepherd), its movements and sex-life of she-dog, the problems with her bowl. Film slowly touches on the subjects of realism.

Film takes the liberty to tackle adult theme and generates far-greater know-how about the dwellings of this particular animal. It penetrates deeper in understanding of this domestic-animal-nonetheless it fails to heighten the interest of general audience with unsatisfying nature of plot; involving adult theme.
½ February 16, 2013
Lady and the Tramp, uncensored.
½ December 18, 2012
J.R. Ackerley's bitter poetry
December 17, 2012
The best thing about "My Dog Tulip" is the way that it truly captures how when you truly love your pet even the smallest, minute detail of its life will bring you endless joy, even if no one else really understands or cares. For people who aren't dog owners though, there's going to be a disconnect here. Many passages are going to seem weird or awkward in the same way that a parent discussing his or her baby's first diaper change would be awkward for anyone who didn't have a child. Because of this disconnect and because of some of the events in the film, "J.R. Ackerley" often comes off as someone who not only does not get along with people, but someone who has no desire to and it will be harder to relate to the man despite the very human emotions he feels towards "Tulip". This does make the character feel very realistic and the voice acting by Christopher Plummer really brings the character to life. Another strong element of the film is the style of animation. It's really hard to describe, but the simultaneously sketchy and accurate style of animation is very unique, so if you're an illustrator of a fan of animation you'll want to check it out to see a unique style at work. Wether you like the film or not probably depends on how much you can ultimately relate to the events that happen but even if you don't own a dog, the animation is very interesting, the story is unique and the voice acting is excellent so it's worth taking a chance just to see if it will be your cup of tea. (Dvd, December 13, 2012)
December 17, 2012
My Dog Tulip is the purest animation I've seen, ever. It's entirely HAND-drawn and HAND-painted (as seen in the charming roughness of the animation). The story revolves around the relationship between J.R. Ackerley, a distinguished British author, and his dog Tulip, a female German Shepherd. Ackerley discovered the perfect partner in Tulip - the ideal mate he has been looking for but failed to find in humans. With remarkable detail, he narrates the kind of relationship they have, including Tulip's queer behavior, her canine conditions, and her loyal devotion to him. It's such an endearing film to watch. 6/23/11
November 4, 2012
If you like animation you will enjoy it, if you are a dog person you will love it!
May 4, 2012
A lovely biographical film about J.R. Ackerley and his dog. Both amusing and touching.
February 24, 2012
For all dog lovers for its obvious reasons.......
An animation movie for adults, to be precise - for mature adults.
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