The Dogwalker (2002)
Written and directed by Jacques Thelemaque, The Dogwalker follows the lives of two very different women who find themselves in equally dire positions. When Ellie (Diane Gaidry) finally leaves her violent boyfriend, she takes the first flight out of her home in Buffalo, New York, and ends up in Los Angeles, where she's promptly robbed of all her possessions and reduced to living on the streets. After a failed attempt at prostitution, Ellie wakes up in a public park and meets Betsy (Pamela Gordon), an older, professional dogwalker with a rather abrupt personality. Eventually, Ellie learns that Betsy is dying of cancer, and ends up helping the older woman's failing business in exchange for temporary shelter. Fragile Ellie and gruff Betsy turn out to have one thing in common--both have left abusive relationships. Betsy's final days unfortunately mark the return of Ellie's former boyfriend, and Ellie is forced to use the disciplinary strength she has had to learn as a dogwalker and newly independent woman. … More
as Ellie Moore
as Betsy Wright
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Critic Reviews for The Dogwalker
Modest but compelling tale of a victimized woman looking for a life free of pain and abuse.
The Dogwalker boasts a scruffy underdog charm, but sometimes that just isn't enough.
Gaidry has no real character to play and brings little of her own spark to a desultory character study.
Broken Bridges is wrapped tight in the cloak of good intentions, soft-pedaling tired tripe about redemption, reconciliation, and finding solace in the bottle.
Though Thelemaque's creation is not exactly an undiscovered gem, it boasts a gritty realism that makes you want him to finish more movies.
Overall story arc is fairly predictable, and deliberate pacing sometimes risks dullness.
Rather than being self-indulgent or pretentious, however, the film comes up with many believable details and changes in direction that enrich the bittersweet central relationship of the two leads.
The sort of movie that you'd see on Lifetime if that channel actually respected its viewers' taste and intelligence.
Like the pets let loose in the grass, The Dogwalker meanders all over the place before getting its bearings. It finally settles down to a satisfying resolution for all concerned, canines included.
With a story inspired by the tumultuous surroundings of Los Angeles, where feelings of marginalization loom for every dreamer with a burst bubble, The Dogwalker has a few characters and ideas, but it never manages to put them on the same path.
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