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My Life as a Dog Review

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 11+

Sensitive subtitled coming-of-age movie for older kids.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that My Life as a Dog is a wonderful subtitled film with brief, non-sexual nudity in an artist's studio. Also, viewers see a quick flash of a 12-year-old girl's breast, and there are several scenes of mild sexual tension between pubescent kids, as well as other sexually suggestive moments throughout. The main character, a 12-year-old boy, deals with several major losses over the course of the movie, though there is an overall sense of optimism to the film.

  • Families can talk about why Ingemar always say it's important to "compare"? Why do you think that Ingemar compares himself to Laika the space dog? Why does Ingemar tell us that he wishes he told his mom everything?
  • How does this movie compare to other coming-of-age movies? How does it treat sexuality among kids and teens?

The good stuff
  • message true3

    Messages: A sense of hope and optimism runs through what is otherwise a sad story of a boy losing his mother. The benefits of creativity and cross-generational friendships are explored. The experience of a boy coming of age is treated honestly and with sensitivity.

  • rolemodels true2

    Role models: Ingemar is a curious, friendly kid experiencing the ups and downs of growing up. His mother, who is gravely ill, treats her sons mostly with impatience, but also with love. Secondary characters are complex, but mostly positive influences.

What to watch for
  • violence false2

    Violence: There is some tension when Ingemar and his mother argue and she breaks down crying and tries to hit and push him away. The boy falls through a roof and gets some scrapes. Ingemar's mother is gravely ill, and a boy loses a pet.

  • sex false2

    Sex: A couple quick glimpses of a 12-year-old girl's breasts as she tries to unsuccessfully flirt with a boy her age, plus an adult female poses nude for an artist and her naked body is visible several times, though sensitive parts are always covered or mostly obscured. Sexual tension between pubescent kids. Flirting and jealousy between adults. An adult has a boy read him underwear advertisements, which he hides from his wife. Adults talk about breasts and "boobs" with kids. A teen boy tells a group of kids about how pregnancy happens and asks his 12-year-old brother to demonstrate by putting his penis into a bottle (nothing is visible), and his penis gets stuck.

  • language false0

    Language: Not an issue

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Not an issue

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false0

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: A man smokes a pipe.

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