As soon as I saw the trailer for this, I knew exactly what would happen if I watched it – and I was right! I needed pretty much a whole box of tissues, as I’m an absolute sap for dogs, and a movie with half the purpose being the damn dog dying – repeatedly! – was never going to go dried-eyed.
Which isn’t really a complaint! A Dog’s Purpose is a wonderfully sweet little movie, told with a voice-over from a dog questioning his purpose through a handful of lives. He seems quite bemused at finding himself a puppy again and again, but the narration isn’t allowed to stray too far from a canine perspective. So, for instance, he thinks his people kissing must be a search for food hidden in the mouth, and the donkey is re-labelled ‘horse dog’. Sure, it can be a little cliched, but it fits.
Despite stints as a police alsatian and over-fed corgi, the initial and main part of the story is as much about owner Ethan’s life in a small town in the 1960s, growing up, and how hopes and dreams ebb and flow. I liked that there is a sense of each successive life revealing a little more of the ‘big picture’ to the pup, and – as the trailer very nearly spoils – how that circles back to the beginning again.
To be honest it’s sweet and familiar rather than particularly meaningful, and what depth there is is more than a little well-worn. But if you manage not to shed a tear over the course of the movie then – well, you must be a cat person – and hiss to that 😉
PS I wasn’t aware of the controversy surrounding this movie, but as far as I can read it was a claim that the dogs had been mistreated in the water scene and was proven false.
Released: 5th May 2017
Viewed: 10th May 2017
Running time: 100 minutes
Rated: PG – the small child at the end of my row seemed entirely fine; it was just me crying like a baby!
My rating: 7/10