top of page
  • Shelley Frost

The Family Dog Explains the Fall in the Film Anatomy of a Fall

With a dog being the first character to appear on the screen, I could feel myself tense, now worried about his or her fate. The role played by the dog (Snoop) becomes more pivotal when we realize he is a seeing-eye dog for Daniel, an eleven-year-old boy whose eyes were damaged in a terrible accident and who would soon be swept into the eye of a storm.


The man who falls from a third-story window and whose fall will be deconstructed by the authorities is Daniel’s father, Samuel. His wife is Sandra, a novelist, and Daniel’s mother. The family lives in a chalet in the French Alps. Daniel and Snoop find Samuel on the snow, not breathing with blood around his head. The police and ambulance arrive to remove the body and collect evidence.


Vincent a dear family friend and criminal lawyer, has a conversation with Sandra and that’s where the poking and probing begins. The authorities have found inconsistencies with the crime scene and begin zeroing in on the wife as the potential cause of Samuel’s fall.


As the legal drama deepens and we are educated in the unfamiliar and uncomfortable operations of a French courtroom at home, Snoop is never far from view. His tasks are completely normal and unalarming. He does what is expected of a dog - enjoying walks, chasing sticks, and voraciously eating his meals (and other unappetizing snacks only a dog would like).


But in the courtroom, the judge and lawyers, along with the witnesses, pick apart every aspect of Sandra’s life, delving into the microscopic, salacious details that would never be allowed in an American courtroom. The prosecutor is emotionally involved, and his questions and soliloquies are outrageous in their efforts to paint Sandra as a murderer. Meanwhile, our empathy for Samuel dries up like a wet rag left out in the hot sun.


The judge and prosecutor tie themselves in knots as the trial plods along. Their stories and arguments are complicated and intricate, yet in the end, it is the simple, everyday behavior of a dog that exonerates Sandra. All those smart legal minds and mouths met their match because a dog did what dogs do.


Reflecting back on the opening scene, there was no need to worry about Snoop’s welfare. In this story, it was Snoop’s actions that summed up the reason for Samuel’s fall. Snoop ensured that justice was done without any courtroom heroics.

17 views1 comment

1 Comment

Feb 23

🫶🏼 Snoop. Good boy! :)

bottom of page