Feel Sad, without being Sad.
Heart of a Dog
Review by Ross Anthony

"This is a somber movie for a Friday night." Said a guest who screened "Heart of a Dog" with me. Avant-garde violinist/artist Laurie Anderson has created a tone poem with this film – a meditation on death and life. Moments are mesmerizing/hypnotizing, and yet others drag a bit. Whereas the film opens with some vibrant ink-wash animation by Laurie herself, the animation is all used up after the first 5 minutes. Employing the animation at intervals periodically would have worked well to accent and stave the lag and give more momentum to the small portion of "overly slow" moments.

That said, for the most part, the film engages with crisp and philosophical reflections on connections, refreshingly cleansed of judgement. For example: "Dogs see in blues and greens" – then the visual cuts to a security camera's greenish monitor. But there are other moments that feel just a tad too self-absorbed, or shots that hold indulgently long.

I appreciate this work. It's not morbid, it's not wallowing. Rather, it's always attempting to remain a safe distance from the grief – almost Spock-like as in "Interesting, Captain, how humans and dogs die and then they're just gone. A whole being completely gone, yet the Earth still turns." (That's not a quote from the movie, btw.)

Laurie offers her personal reflections on some important deaths in her life, most notably, the title character, her dog Lolabelle. She attempts to "feel sad, without being sad" as advised by a Tibetan Monk. It's not a perfect film, but it does have a certain beauty and a lot of heart to it. Additionally, Laurie scores the piece. If you're tired of all the loud blaring action films and want something heady and artistic -- give this one a go.

-- Books by Ross Anthony, Author/Illustrator --


  • Heart of a Dog. Copyright © 2015.
  • Written and Directed by Laurie Anderson. Starring Lolabelle and adorable Lolabelle stunt doubles..

Grade..........................B+ (2.5/4)


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Copyright © 1998-2016 Ross Anthony, Author - Speaker - Solo World Circumnavigator In addition to reviewing films and interviewing celebs at HollywoodReportCard.com, traveling the world, composing great music, motivational speaking, Mr. Anthony also runs his own publishing company in the Los Angeles area. While traversing the circumference of the planet writing books and shooting documentaries, Mr. Anthony has taught, presented for, worked &/or played with locals in over 30 countries & 100 cities (Nairobi to Nagasaki). He's bungee-jumped from a bridge near Victoria Falls, wrestled with lions in Zimbabwe, crashed a Vespa off a high mountain road in Taiwan, and ridden a dirt bike across the States (Washington State to Washington DC). To get signed books ("Rodney Appleseed" to "Jinshirou") or schedule Ross to speak check out: www.RossAnthony.com or call 1-800-767-7186. Check out his other sites too: Author*Illustrator*Speaker, Motobookothon 2009, M9, Write Triangle, TwT. Go into the world and inspire the people you meet with your love, kindness, and whatever it is you're really good at. Check out books by Ross Anthony. Rand() functions, Pho chicken soup, rollerblading, and frozen yogurt (w/ blueberries) also rock! (Btw, rand is short for random. It can also stand for "Really Awkward Nutty Dinosaurs" -- which is quite rand, isn't it?) Being alive is the miracle. Special thanks to Ken Kocanda, HAL, Jodie Keszek, Don Haderlein, Mom and Pops, my family, R. Foss, and many others by Ross Anthony. Galati-FE also deserves a shout out. And thanks to all of you for your interest and optimism. Enjoy great films, read stirring novels, grow.


Last Modified: Wednesday, 21-Oct-2015 19:19:57 PDT