The following is a description from HBO:
“Well Groomed” is a documentary that explores the exuberant world of competitive dog grooming and follows the lives of dog owners who are challenging the definition of art.
The film offers a rare look into the lives of dog owners who are dedicated to transforming their poodles into living sculptures. It delves deep into an all-consuming subculture of America where the motivation to win drives them into devoting their lives to the competition.
The documentary follows a group of determined dog groomers who are driven to succeed while facing a series of challenges in each of their personal and professional lives over the course of a year. It will also offer a peek into their limited-time outside the ring, where they groom other people’s dogs, care for own pets and test out new designs on their show dogs.
“Well Groomed” is from Cattle Rat Productions in association with Spacestation; directed and written by Rebecca Stern; produced by Rebecca Stern, Justin Levy and Matthew C. Mills, executive produced by Chris Vivion, Annie Roney, Sue Turley; co-executive produced by Meryl Goldsmith; cinematography, Alexander W. Lewis; edited by Katharina Stroh; original music by Dan Deacon. For HBO, executive producers, Bill Simmons and Peter Nelson.
Premiere: December 17, 2019, at 9 p.m. ET on HBO, HBO Go and HBO Now. Available on HBO on Demand on December 18, 2019.
Here are excerpts of some reviews of “Well Groomed”:
The Hollywood Reporter: “With its benign view of the world it captures, ‘Well Groomed’ asks us to laugh along with the cheerful women on camera. Its non-intrusive approach leaves the door open, just a crack, for anyone ready to laugh at people who turn their dogs into turkeys and chickens.”
The Playlist: “Remarkably, the element that heightens the film’s enjoyability is its pure-hearted nature. Even at its darkest moments, ‘Well Groomed’ never lingers too long on sorrow to knock the movie off-course. Moreover, while the subject matter of creative grooming encompasses enough oddball characteristics to float on its own, the documentary wisely opts to focus on the personalities of the groomers.”
POV Magazine: “A boon for any dog lover or someone just wanting to learn about this subculture, ‘Well Groomed’ is a slight yet generally satisfying look into this odd topic. Larger questions about the exploitation of the animals, the obsessions of the individuals for their pets at the expense of people, etc. are left aside for a gentle film about an intense but agreeable competition.”