A DOG’S PURPOSE – A Review by Cynthia Flores

Review by: Cynthia Flores
Directed by Lasse Hallström
Written By W. Bruce Cameron/Cathryn Michon/ Audrey Wells/ Maya Forbes/ Wally Wolodarsky
Rated PG
Running time 120 min
Family film/comedy/drama
Wide release is Jan 27 2017
Starring: Josh Gad, Britt Robertson, KJ Apa, John Ortiz, Juliet Rylance, Kuke Kirby, Peggy Lipton, Pooch Hall, and Dennis Quaid.
“What is the meaning of life? Are we here for a reason? Is there a point to any of this?”
When a movie literally starts out with someone asking these kinds of questions, usually you’re in for a high art, cutting edge, probably weird looking movie with subtitles or at the very least in black and white. Not here, since that someone asking those questions is a dog.
That’s right, A Dog’s Purpose, is based on the beloved bestselling novel by W. Bruce Cameron.  The film shares the surprising story of one devoted dog (voiced by Josh Gad) who finds the meaning of his existence through his different lives and the humans he teaches to love.
This family film told from the dog's perspective is surprisingly good. It moves at a fast pace despite it’s two hour run time. The acting is great from all the dogs that are in it as well as their human counterparts.  I didn’t get sick of the many shots from the POV of the dogs. In fact, it gives the audience a new perspective of how we and the world must appear to dogs. The movie also manages to cover some pretty tough issues such as alcoholism, loneliness, and the loss of dearly held dreams without being sappy or overly simple.
Spoiler Alert: Men you may have to turn in your man card at the door, and women, bring lots of tissues because you're going to need them.  I’m not ashamed to admit I did. Hell I cried like a baby. Think back to the first time you saw Bambi and his mother gets shot, or worse, Old Yeller and his young owner having to put him down.  Yeah, I’m talking those kinds of tears. Because you see, in order for the dog to tell his stories he has to die, several times.  Then he or she will come back again as a new dog. Sometimes a great big one, and other times as a small lapdog with all the memories of it’s past lives it lived and the humans it’s loved.
Unfortunately this movie has been in the press recently because a video was leaked  that was shot behind the scenes on set during the making of the film showing one of the dogs being treated badly while filming one of the stunts.  PETA has suggested a boycott and others have jumped on the band wagon without checking the facts. I saw the video that caused the uproar and it’s obvious that it’s been edited to make the situation look bad. I’ve been on film sets, and worked with trained animals, and I can tell you they are, by law, usually treated better than the human actors are.  
That being said, I feel comfortable recommending this film to anyone that has a pet, or what me and my friends have been know to call them, a “Fur baby”.  Dogs, especially, have a way of becoming part of our families and live in our hearts long after they’re gone. This movie gives an interesting take on the idea of reincarnation for dogs and the love that keeps going on and on in the shape of our four legged friends.
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