A Dog’s Purpose takes us on an emotional journey as it shows us four separate stories of a dog’s life.
Based on W. Bruce Cameron’s 2010 novel, the film starts off with a bundle of cuteness as we see tiny new-born puppies wiggling their way through the sand. The cuteness factor quickly gets dampened when they turn out to be stray pups who are captured and put down. This is where the story then focuses on one particular puppy, Bailey (voiced by Josh Gad) and we hear his thoughts about the meaning of his life. Each time Bailey dies, he gets reincarnated as a whole new dog in a new life, but with the same soul and memories of his (and her) previous lives and owners.
The beauty of A Dog’s Purpose is that it does not shy away from showing the cruelty and neglect animals can endure at the hands of humans. Even with those who supposedly love them. At the same time, it sends a deep message of long-lasting love between humans and their pets. It’s impossible to leave this movie without a greater appreciation for animals.
With its beautiful cinematography and settings over a number of decades, the story is guaranteed to make every animal lover laugh, cry a little – or a lot – and be kept in suspense. In an unexpected turn, the movie manages to put audiences on the edge of their seat by making them feel attached to the loveable pooches very quickly, and in turn, fear the inevitable – their deaths.
Human talents,Dennis Quaid, Britt Robertson, Peggy Lipton and K.J Apa star alongside the animals. Although the dogs who portray Bailey, Buddy, Tino and Ellie outshine their human co-stars with their talent and adorable faces. It’s hard not to think about how much effort and time has gone into creating this film by the dogs and humans involved. These animal stars deserve a little luxury after their performance in A Dog’s Purpose.
Creating a film centred on animals will always have its critics. However, the controversy surrounding this movie has had some calling for a boycott. Ahead of its release, behind the scenes footage emerged of a trainer throwing one of the dogs into a pool after she repeatedly refused to get in the water out of fear. Director Lasse Hallström, called for an investigation into the incident and insisted if he had been on the set at the time – it would not have happened. The films’s producers and stars have also supported the investigation and Hallström’s statement. Based on that information it’s up to you, as a viewer, to decide if you are willing to support the film.
Those who have seen Hatchi – A Dog’s Tale, know Hallström is brilliant at making feel-good emotional stories that make people cry. There was not a dry eye at the premiere of A Dog’s Purpose so it’s safe to say he certainly delivers this time around too. Although it has a happy ending, it’s important to note that tissues are a necessity, not an option, if you are going to this movie.
I rate it 7.5 out of 10.
A Dog’s Purpose is in Australian cinemas now.