A Dog’s PurposeCultureCinemaMovie reviews
Those who have bonded with animals, especially dogs, understand that these relationships are special – not as a replacement for human connections, but to complement them. Any who have experienced a dog walking into their lives and literally saving them from a bad situation know that our canine friends can seem like angels sent from above.
Such is the sensibility of A Dog’s Purpose, a charming, very moving film about life from a dog’s perspective. Reincarnated several times, this valiant heroic pup – in his most significant incarnation, named Bailey – is on a mission to find his true purpose: why is he here and what is existence all about?
Writer of the original novel and the screenplay, Bruce Cameron clearly understands dogs in a spiritual sense. Director Lasse Hallstom likewise brilliantly presents the poignancy of the canine soul, and the impact these beings have on us.
Beginning as a puppy born on the street and promptly euthanized at the local pound, our hero is reborn as a Golden Retriever who almost dies when locked in an overheated lorry but is rescued by a lady and her son, Ethan (Bryce Gheisar). Named Bailey, he bonds with the boy, later bringing him together with the love of his life, Hannah (Britt Robertson, Penny Lipton). Ethan’s (KJ Apa) football scholarship dreams are dashed when he is injured in an accident caused by an envious rival. Despondent and embittered, he rejects his love and leaves broken-hearted Bailey behind to attend agricultural school. Eventually dying of old age, Bailey’s subsequent incarnations include serving as a courageous police dog. Finally, a lonely stray, he recognises a scent from a time long past – Ethan (Dennis Quaid) – and lives are changed forever.
With amusing insights into what the world must look like from a dog’s point of view – such as Bailey’s assumption that humans kiss because they are searching for food – the piece is witty and thoughtful. By showing the many ways dogs help us, the movie illustrates that these (and by extension all) animals not only have a perspective, but that they matter profoundly.
A tearjerker from start to finish, a supply of tissues is recommended. With good writing, acting, cinematography and editing, A Dog’s Purpose is a well-crafted, sweet, uplifting, exceptional film for both children and adults. It reminds us of our humanity because, ultimately, that may be a dog’s purpose.
A Dog’s Purpose is released nationwide on 5th May 2017.
Watch the trailer for A Dog’s Purpose here: