Like me, Truman Capote thought J.R. Ackerley’s memoir about his dog Tulip was “one of the greatest books ever written by anybody in the world.” I read it more than twenty years ago and I still think of it often. I was tickled pink to see the library had bought the film version for its (and therefore my) use.
Ackerley (1896-1967) was a famous, curmudgeonly English writer. The movie traces the relationship between him and his dog companion, good and bad. He details everything about her, sometimes more than you want to know, but it’s so…entertaining that you just keep watching. The book was much the same way. If you are offended by the body functions of dogs, you will not like the book or the movie. In his defense, Ackerley wryly mentions that Napoleon’s movements were well chronicled as well.
The book and the movie both mention the writers life long search for the perfect friend. After his dog passed away, he realized that she had perhaps really been his ultimate companion. Not mentioned in the movie, but touched on in the special features, is that by “friend” Ackerley meant what a lot of folks from a certain time period weren’t allowed to say…boyfriend or husband.
The animation in the film is utterly beautiful, soothing even. It’s wry and witty, just like the writing. Very much an adult film, it doesn’t have the bright lights and quick pacing of the kid’s cartoons. You can sit down with a cup of coffee or a glass of wine when you watch this by yourself or with friends.