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Movies by Lasse Hallström

Lassie Hallström has made movies in Swedish and English. I liked three of his movies: "My Life As A Dog", "What's Eating Gilbert Grape?" and "Hachi, A Dog's Tale". Death is a common theme in all three movies and Lasse Hallström handles the subject gracefully. I also saw "The Cider House Rules" but didn't like it much.

My Life As A Dog (Mitt Liv Som Hund)

Director: Lasse Hallström (1985, Swedish, 101 mins)

Reviews: RottenTomatoes (100%), IMDB (7.7), Amazon.

Similar movies: childhood, death, family, illness, intense.

Summary: A beautiful movie! A 12-year old boy named Ingemar is the main character. He is faced with his mother's illness, puberty, relocation to another town and separation from his dog, all at once. In the midst of turbulence, a panorama of joyful, sorrowful and comic moments unfolds in Ingemar's life. Lasse Hallström has handled the storyline well. The movie is delicate, touching and authentic.

Character development is pretty good. Other than the main characters, there are queer townsfolk which add spice. Landscape shots of Swedish homes in snow are gorgeous. The movie won the Golden Globe Award for the Best Foreign Film in 1987.

An ongoing thread in the movie is innocent exploration of sexuality at young age. The scenes in the movie may surprise Indian audiences who have to realize that sexuality is handled very differently in Sweden. For example, an effective sex education program is in place since 1956. Kids who grow up in USA and relocate to Sweden are shocked when they attend these classes. At the same time, they find them rewarding because Sweden's program is more in touch with reality than the equivalent US program. Straight Facts about the Birds and Bees in US News, 2007. RFSU is the organization behind Sweden's sex education programs.

 

What's Eating Gilbert Grape?

Director: Lasse Hallström (1993, English, 118 mins)

Reviews: RottenTomatoes (89%), IMDB (7.7), Wikipedia, Amazon, Roger Ebert.

Watch online: NetFlix.

Similar movies: family, illness.

Summary: An awesome movie showcasing a dysfunctional family in a small town. What holds the family together is love. The main character, Gilbert, assumes a lot of responsibility. He has a morbidly obese mom who never ventures out of home, a mentally challenged younger brother and two sisters in the family. He is commited to taking care of everybody in his family, especially his younger brother Arnie, and his mom.

Acting by Johnny Depp (as Gilbert Grape), Leonardo DiCaprio (as Arnie Grape) and Darlene Cates (as mom) is awesome.

 

Hachi, A Dog's Tale

Director: Lasse Hallström (2009, English, 93 mins)

Reviews: RottenTomatoes (62%), IMDB (8.2), Amazon.

Watch online: YouTube.

Similar movies: death, family, true story.

Summary: Simple story. Touching. Based on a true story from Japan about a dog and his master. The main character in the movie is a dog named Hachi who is discovered by Richard Gere on a train station. The movie showcases the strong bond that exists between Hachi and Richard Gere.

Hundreds of positive reviews on Amazon.

 

2 Nov 2013
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