Director : Rebecca Stern
One-upmanship can only go so far before it plateaus at a point of madness that evades all but those involved. I’m assuming that is how the world ended up with Groom-Expo, a dog show that takes the eligibility of best in show to another level, by creating “walking canvasses” out of mans best friend. It’s an odd spectacle and one that could easily be mocked if it weren’t in the hands of Rebecca Stern. In her nine minute documentary, Well Groomed, she follows two of the expo’s stars, Adriane and Angela as they bring their creations to life in all their eccentric and outlandish glory. The story here though is not the show itself, but the unwavering passion each woman has for this unconventional hobby. As Adriane says, “Most people set goals in life. To graduate from medical school or to travel the world. I just want to win Creative First, one time. That’s my goal.” She like Angela, is so likable, so genuine that you can’t help get swept up by their calling. Their lives revolve around the animals they shape into works of art, and their competition, which offers a new definition for the term friendly rivalry. The respect and admiration between the two is heartening. Of course both are there to win, but the affection, aspiration and camaraderie provoked could only be found between those who share such a niche interest. Their humble and dedicated approach to a craft that seems, from the outside at least, so bizzare, is an encouraging and comforting reaffirmation that no dream is too small and a souvenir of the liberation to be found in following passions in spite of derision.