Genre - Drama/Comedy
Duration - 1h 40min
Director - Lasse Hallström
Based On - A Dog's Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron
Cast - Josh Gad (narration), K.J. Apa, Dennis Quaid, Bryce Gheisar, Peggy Lipton, Juliet Rylance
If you are a dog lover, keep a pack of tissues handy.
If you are not, don't bother watching for there is nothing the movie has to offer you.
A Dog's Purpose was not one of the most popular choices for cinema lovers when I came to know about it. Blame it on Bahubali2 that is ruling all the theatres. But since I am not a part of the Bahubali brigade, the movie seemed like a nice weekend watch. The first thing that prompted me to go for the movie was the innocent face of a golden retriever in the promos. Isn't he adorable?
Dogs and emotions have become by now the USP of director Lasse Hallström. His last movie Hachi:A Dog's Tale remains one of my favourite movie, for it spoke so much about Dog-man relationship. I had therefore, high expectations from his latest offering.
A Dog's Purpose is very different from Hachi:A Dog's Tale, or Marley & Me. While the latter speak about the life of a dog and his relationship with his master, A Dog's Purpose revolves around all that goes in the mind of a dog during his various lives.
The major part of the movie is about Bailey (Josh Gad), a golden retriever, or rather an intelligent golden retriever who always has questions in his mind about his existence. What, why, who, where....Bailey is an inquisitive dog and sometimes one wonders this is a dog thinking and feeling like humans! From the lap of his mother to dog catchers, Bailey is on the move till he gets rescued by Ethan and his mom Elizabeth. Despite resistance from Ethan's father, who clearly comes across as a non pet lover, Bailey finds his place in the home and heart of Ethan and his mom. The first half is a treat for dog lovers as Bailey is seen to have a great time with Ethan in the 60's. Like a true buddy, he follows Ethan everywhere. True to epitomising friendship, Bailey ensures to be a part of all the important moments in Ethan's life. He shares Ethan's joy when he enjoys a baseball match; his happiness and excitement when Ethan meets his girlfriend Hannah; his sorrow when the family goes through a split. Surprisingly, Bailey also plays the cupid in Ethan's life which was kinda cute to watch. Bailey also is a true loyal, for he risks his life to protect Ethan and his mom when their house burns down.
Ethan's life however, changes after the fire incident. Bailey moves with Ethan to his grandparents' house in the countryside. Ethan goes through tough times when he loses his scholarship and breaks up with Hannah. Bailey tries a lot to cheer Ethan up however, all his efforts go in vain. With Ethan leaving for college, Bailey loses the focal point of his life and soon succumbs to old age and illness.
While one wonders the story is over, Bailey surprises us with another incarnation as a female German Shepherd Ellie since he remembers each detail of his previous birth. In his short but adventurous life as Ellie, the police dog in the 70's, he discovers that the purpose of his life is to protect mankind.
In his next incarnation as a corgi named Toni in the 80's, he learns that the purpose of his life is to bring happiness and remove loneliness in the life of Maya and helps her find true love.
His last life however, is the most eventful one. Born as a Saint Bernard in the 90's, he has a short stint with an abusive family indicating so much about people who bring dogs home without thinking whether they are prepared to raise one. After the family abandons him, he goes through major coincidence. While in every life, he missed the warmth of his relationship with Ethan, a chance meeting with an old Hannah brings back all the smells afresh in his memory. He soon sets out in search of Ethan and finds an old and lonely Ethan in the same house. With Ethan back in his life, Bailey aka Buddy's life finally comes a full circle and he does best to bring happiness back into Ethan's life.
Although Bailey feels that his purpose in life is to live in the moment and spread happiness, I felt it was more about Bailey's love for Ethan and his homecoming.
I guess, A Dog's Perspective could have been a more appropriate title!
- The cute and innocent faces of pups would make you go Awww.
- One sure shot way directors know to make the viewers go numb is putting generous dose of playful doggie moments. If you ever had a dog you will remember him each time you watch Bailey playing with Ethan.
- The director successfully triggers your tear glands. A pack of tissues will be helpful for you will see a dog dying multiple times in the movie.
- The actors are skilled in their craft to invoke the right emotions in our hearts.
- The most interesting part of the movie is the constant narration in the voice of Bailey that gives a dog's perspective on all that he sees.
- Despite the director trying his bring in the whole concept of purpose in a dog's life, by retaining Bailey's memory and his love for Ethan, it appeared more like Bailey's story and his homecoming.
- A strong story is the base for a good movie. Somehow, I found the story to be weak. The director seemed confused between depicting a dog-master affectionate relationship and various experiences in a dog's life, or rather multiple births.
- Dunno how true this is, but a clip by TBZ went viral on internet showing cruelty to the German Shepherd during the shoot. Though, American Humane Association later concluded that the video was tweaked to mislead people, yet the incident led to a lot of negative publicity for the movie.