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‘A Dog’s Purpose’ offers Silver Linings

January 31, 2017

Giving your time away for one of Lasse Hallströn’s movies always leaves you with an easy, full-hearted experience, and “A Dog’s Purpose” is no exception.

Hallstrom is the renowned director of “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape” (1993) and “Hachi: A Dog’s Tale” (2009). His movies are known to be deeply emotional and capture the pleasures of relationships and the pain of love lost.

“A Dog’s Purpose” has been controversial with many animal activists, like PETA, who released a statement calling for a nationwide boycott. In a short scene during the filming of this movie, TMZ reported video of a German Shepherd in rushing waters, struggling to keep its head above water. Many viewers were upset about this clip and called it animal cruelty.

From the viewer’s perspective, no animals seem to be in any harm. Despite the controversy, the movie portrays major life lessons in respect for our fellow companions.

“A Dog’s Purpose” starts off by telling the story of Bailey, voiced by Josh Gad (Frozen), a curious Golden Retriever puppy and a young boy Ethan, played by Bryce Gheisar. Between the antics of Ethan and Bailey’s life’s ups-and-downs, Hallströn figures a way of combining every melancholic scene throughout the film and mixing it with a soft sense of humor which makes the situations comfortable. Even though there were some sad moments, the director was able to show the audience there’s always some sort of silver lining in every bad situation.

This is a perfect family movie for kids who are phasing out of the early years of innocence. “A Dog’s Purpose” is easy to understand and is a perfect movie to teach younger kids about love, death and loyalty. It even has a childlike comical way of educating kids with easy comprehensible dog facts throughout the film.

After Bailey’s heartfelt life story with Ethan, like all good things, their bond comes to an inevitable end. The soul of Bailey is reincarnated into three different lives of dogs, each sentimental in their own way. Every life the dog passes through teaches a basic purpose, all different from one another, but it always somehow comes down to love and human connection.

Each storyline involves a character who is craving any sort of companionship that is ultimately fulfilled from Bailey’s reincarnated soul in a variety of breeds.

Enjoyable no matter what age you are, this movie is intended for dog lovers everywhere. It emphasizes that humans only have their dog for a short period of time while to a dog, it’s owner is it’s whole life. The film is a fun way of educating our kids, while still being enjoyable for the whole family.

During the observation of Bailey’s reincarnated lives, watchers are given numerous perspectives of human life, all of them with one important characteristic in common, their love for dogs. Camera angles to show the dog’s point of view are sometimes used and it makes the movie really feel like you get an insight to a dog’s perspective of things.

With the few sad moments aside, “A Dog’s Purpose” teaches their younger audience an important life lesson while always including some kind of silver lining. This is the sort of movie we would suggest for anyone who’s looking for a simple minded, yet corny film,

The film doesn’t have the longevity of past Hallströn films. A very predictable movie but strangely not many tears even considering the multiple deaths with Bailey, the dog. Animal deaths tend to be an easy way to get into people’s emotions but Hallströn doesn’t push hard enough with sadness. One thing is for sure, you will leave the theater wanting to hug your dog a little bit tighter at the end of the night.  

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