PICK OF THE LITTER
(directors: Dana Nachman/Don Hardy; screenwriter: Dana Nachman; cinematographer: Don Hardy; editor: Don Hardy; music: Helen Jane Long; Runtime: 81; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Dana Nachman/Don Hardy; Sundance Selects; 2018)
“An uplifting doggie film.“
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Dana Nachman and Don Hardy (“Love Hate Love”/”Batkid Begins”) co-direct their fourth film together. This loveable but hardly inventive documentary is a cute doggie story about 5 puppy Labradors ( Patriot, Potomac, Primrose, Poppet, and Phil) from the same litter being trained for two years to be guide dogs for the blind. The training takes place at the national nonprofit Guide Dogs for the Blind (GDB, founded in 1942), based in San Rafael, Calif., where every year they receive some 1,000 requests for guide dogs. The GDB’s breeding program produces 800 puppies a year, but less than half make it as guide dogs despite an intensive training program undertaken by volunteer trainers. The failing dogs may windup as breeders. At the end of 12 months four of the dogs remain, but most still have behavior problems and could be dropped from the program when they begin the intensive final guide dog training. It’s an uplifting doggie film that shows dedicated individuals as trainers bonding with engaging dogs, who are needed to help those who really need their service.
REVIEWED ON 9/9/2018 GRADE: B