For some reason, during the 1980s many European directors finally became interested in making technically competent and emotionally involving films -- for the first time. My Life as a Dog is a transitional work in the evolution of continental cinema -- there are still moments of home-movie sloppiness, slow-paced nostalgia, and self-indulgent pseudo-profundity, and enough sex gags to satisfy European audiences. But Lasse Hallström's film also contains insight, humor, intelligence, and warmth, and his direction is graceful and effective.
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He's certainly not wasting his newfound talents.