A Letter to True (PG)

Film image

The ViewLondon Review

StarStarStarNo StarNo Star
Review byMatthew Turner30/07/2008

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 78 mins

Watchable, well made documentary that's essentially like leafing through a scrapbook and being surrounded by dogs, while Weber tells you stories, reads you poems, plays you music and shows you film clips.

What's it all about?
Photographer-slash-film-maker Bruce Weber's latest film is framed as a letter to his beloved dog True, one of several adorable golden retrievers Weber owns - the others (Palomino, Big Skye, Rain, Polar Bear, Guy, Cloud, Sailor, Hope, Whizzy, Jake and Tyson) all receive onscreen credits as the "stars" of the movie.

However, the film is more than just Weber's dog-centric home movies – instead, Weber interweaves several of his personal obsessions, including: 50s and 60s music; home movies of Dirk Bogarde (who became a friend) in Provence; conversations with fellow dog-lover Elizabeth Taylor; and Weber's (and True's) reactions to 9/11, Vietnam, Haiitian refugees, poetry (read by Julie Christie and Marianne Faithfull), Martin Luther King and Lassie movies.

The Good
A Letter To True would make an interesting companion piece to Guy Maddin's My Winnipeg, because it shares the scrapbook-like approach to memory and the cataloguing of obsessions. The result is an undeniably self-indulgent film, but it's nonetheless fascinating, particularly when Weber talks about Bogarde.

There are some amusing sequences (if, perhaps, a few too many shots of dogs on surfboards) and Weber occasionally unearths the odd surprise, such as a lengthy courtroom clip from a Lassie movie, in which a pivotal disaster turns out to have taken place on September 11th.

The Bad
Admittedly, not all of the sequences work – it's hard to see the point of a beautiful, topless model frolicking about with a camera, for example, unless it was included purely for titillation. Similarly, there's a sequence with an American farming family and their dogs that seems out of place, or at least unexplained – are they Weber's neighbours? Did they breed some of his dogs?

Worth seeing?
In short, A Letter to True is a watchable, well assembled and occasionally amusing memoir, though it may be a little too self-indulgent for some tastes.

Film Trailer

A Letter to True (PG)
A Letter to True has been reviewed by 1 users
image
01 What We Do In The Shadows (tbc)

Jemaine Clement, Taika Waititi, Jonathan Brugh

image
02 Serena (15)

Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper

image
03 Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day (tbc)

Steve Carell, Jennifer Garner, Dylan Minnette, Ed ...

image
04 The Second Best Marigold Hotel (12)

Maggie Smith, Judi Dench, Celia Imrie, Richard Ger...

image
05 Home (PG)

Jim Parsons, Rihanna, Jennifer Lopez

Content updated: 01/11/2014 08:54

Latest Film Reviews

Film of the Week

Mr Turner (15)

Mike Leigh directs Timothy Spall in this exploration of the latter half of renowned painter J.M.W.Turner's life.

UK Box Office Top 5 Films