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 The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies (tbc)

Lee Pace, Benedict Cumberbatch, Evangeline Lilly, ...

image
02 The Theory of Everything (tbc)

Felicity Jones, Eddie Redmayne, Emily Watson

image
03 Pride (15)

Bill Nighy, Andrew Scott, Dominic West, Imelda Sta...

image
04 What We Did on Our Holidays (12A)

David Tennant, Billy Connolly, Rosamund Pike, Anne...

image
05 The Guest (15)

Dan Stevens, Maika Monroe, Ethan Embry

Content updated: 28/08/2014 02:16

Latest Film Reviews

Film of the Week

Night Moves Film Review

Engaging and provocative, this is a fiercely introspective thriller from writer-director Kelly Reichardt, starring Jesse Eisenberg and Dakota Fanning.

UK Box Office Top 5 Films

Hot Tickets

Film 4 Summer ScreenFilm 4 Summer Screen

Taking over the big screen at Somerset House again for August 2014, the Film 4 Summer Screen series brings a variety of classics and brand new films to audiences in the capital.