Quill: The Life of a Seeing Eye Dog (2004) and Take Shelter (2011) #3RFF

12 Nov

Even though I picked 4 movies to see at the 3 Rivers Film Festival, it felt like I would just be going to the movies a whole lot, instead of really “going” to a film festival.  I have a shopping trip on sunday that may overlap with seeing Karen Cries on the Bus, so instead I decided to see two movies last night at the Regent Square Theater.

  Quill: The Life of a Seeing Eye Dog is everything you’d expect from a movie all about doggies.  The first part of the movie was about Quill’s puppyhood, and there were plenty of audible “AWWWW’s!” from the crowd.  As Quill gets older, he remains unbelievably cute.  This movie made me want to get up and SQUEEZE the puppies in the screen.

The film follows Quill throughout his entire life, from playful puppyhood, to his dutiful years as a seeing eye dog.  It sweetly depicts Quills devotion to his master, Watanabe.  The relationship starts as a rocky one, as Watanabe is extremely stubborn and reluctant to have a seeing eye dog, but Watanabe’s affection, and that of his family, for Quill, progressively grows until Quill is truly one of the family.  The film depicts Quills entire life, including his passing at 12 years and 25 days.  The final scenes seemed to last forever, and a touch melodramatic, but they were touching and there were plenty of whimpers and sniffles from the crowd.

There were a few kids in the crowd, and I think this movie would be a great movie for animal-loving kids to watch (bonus: lots of cute puppies, but no annoying songs to get stuck in your head).  If I can find it on DVD, I will probably by it.  Baby Beez loves puppies, and I think she’d have a lot of fun watching this film.

The absolute best part of the film is this darling little scene where Quill is told to “stay,” because the trainer has to take a call.  The trainer ends up takign a long time (and actually forgets he left Quill mid-training), and Quill takes a little snooze.  The audience then gets a glimpse into Quill’s dream (of his favorite squeaky toy), and IT IS THE MOST ADORABLE THING EVER.

So yes, two thumbs (or paws?) up.  Quill: The Life of a Seeing Eye Dog is unbelievably, unbelievably cute.  I love puppies and cute things, so of course, I LOVED it.

The second movie I saw, Take Shelter, is a completely different kind of film, but equally excellent.

Michael Shannon plays Curtis, an Ohio father devoted to his wife and six-year-old deaf daughter, and who works hard at his blue collar job.  Jessica Chastain artfully plays Curtis’ wife, Samantha.  She is sweet but stern, and handles her trials with grace.  Curtis begins having terrifying nightmares and delusions of apocalyptic storms.  He discovers a storm shelter in his back yard, and obsessively undertakes the task of building out the shelter.

What sets this tale of mental illness apart from other films is Curtis’ awareness and concern about his condition.  Curtis doesn’t *SNAP* lose it, his illness progresses over time.  His mother was diagnosed with schizophrenia in her early 30s, and Curtis painfully remembers the incident leading to her diagnosis.  She has been in treatment and assisted living ever since.

Curtis is aware of his family history, and he has promised himself that he will never put his family in the position that his mother’s illness did.  He researches mental illness, he goes to his doctor, he does counseling, he knows there is something wrong and he desperately wants to have it treated.  There is a fascinating tension between his awareness of the illness, and its horrible effects on him.

The most striking part of the film is its depiction of Curtis’ dreams.  The storms are dark and booming. Even though you’re watching from a safe theater, you feel like you are at the mercy of angry mother nature.

Take Shelter won the Critics Week award at Cannes, as well as many other film accolades.  It is easy to see why.


One Response to “Quill: The Life of a Seeing Eye Dog (2004) and Take Shelter (2011) #3RFF”


  1. 30 before 30 « beezuskiddo - November 23, 2011

    […]  Attend a film festival. Attended the 3 Rivers Film Festival in November, links here and here. […]

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