A Dog’s Purpose (2017)

A dog lives different lives in different time eras with different types of people. This dog tries to learn what the purpose of life is.

Director: Lasse Hallström

Cast: Josh Gad, Dennis Quaid, Peggy Lipton, Bryce Gheisar, K.J. Apa, Juliet Rylance

MPAA Rating: PG for thematic elements and some peril

Fun Fact: Bradley Cooper was supposed to be the voice of the dog. He was replaced with Josh Gad.

A Dog’s Purpose is one of those types of films that I didn’t know was out. I may have heard of it but, with tons of different releases every year, it’s hard to keep up with everything. Well my fiancé wanted to see it, so I was all for it. I for one am a dog person but, usually tend to stay away from animal-based films because they tend to get emotional.

This film is not without controversy though. TMZ had released a video that showed a dog apparently being forced to do something it didn’t want to. It was investigated and it was proven the video was heavily edited to show negativity.

Emotional it is, and I caught myself holding back from tears. While this film is based off a novel which the author helped write the screenplay, it’s still emotional to see the animals on the screen. There is a difference when you read something and see something. You get more of an impact when you see something. Everybody gets attached to their pets and they are more than just a pet, they become one of the family and when a pet passes away you can relate to the human characters because we have all been there before. I had a cat for 18 years and I went through the same thing the human characters did in the film. It’s nice to watch a film occasionally that you can relate to in your life.

While I consider this more of a drama I would recommend this to families to see. It has positive human characters that people, especially kids can look up to. The Ethan character is a perfect example of this. He is a loyal owner of the dog and takes care of it till the very end. The ending of the film which I won’t spoil will make you happy for Ethan. Most of the owners are good examples of people and it’s important for people to have positive influences in life either in real life or in fiction.

Some of the technical aspects of the film were interesting as well. I did like some of the first-person camera shots of the dog’s. It was a unique aspect of the film that I don’t really see much all that much. The shooting locations were nice as well. For a film based in a real life setting they were pleasant and the small-town vibe was always nice to see as well.

Overall, A Dog’s Purpose is an emotional journey. It’s a film that anyone can relate to and I think families should look at it. Parent’s could lead their children in some positive discussions about the characters and what a pet can mean to a family. Give it a shot and ignore the so-called controversy from the TMZ video.

Verdict: Hit

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