Review: Dog movie will bring viewers to tears-multiple times

Caroline Fellows
Online Editor

“What is the meaning of life? Are we here for a reason? Is there a point to any of this?”

"A Dog's Purpose," released Jan. 27, tells the story of a canine's quest to learn the meaning of lives. Made on an estimated budget of $22 million, the film earned over $18 million its opening weekend. Photo from

“A Dog’s Purpose,” released Jan. 27, tells the story of a canine’s quest to learn the meaning of life. Made on an estimated budget of $22 million, the film earned over $18 million its opening weekend. Photo from

While these may seem to be words from famous philosophers like Plato and Socrates, they’re actually from the dog Bailey (Josh Gad) in Universal Pictures’s “A Dog’s Purpose”– a movie which will send any viewer with a loving heart on an emotional roller-coaster.

“A Dog’s Purpose” is essentially one story that follows a dog across several lives.

Bailey is first taken in by a young boy named Ethan (played as a child by Bryce Gheisar, as a teen by KJ Apa and as a grown man by Dennis Quaid) and spends years playing, retrieving and even gets teenage Ethan a girlfriend, Hannah (played as a teen by Britt Robertson and as a grown women by Peggy Lipton). While he experiences the highs and lows of his life, Bailey ponders-why is he here? Is his purpose in life simply to play and dig up dead cats? Is he just supposed to be with Ethan and Hannah his entire life, or is there a deeper meaning?

Bailey ponders this questions throughout all his lives, and for each he has a different name, breed and owner.

Since the movie is based off W. Bruce Cameron’s book of the same name, those who have read it should be able to understand these changes. However, for viewers unaware of the plot, it may be confusing as to why the dog keeps reincarnating when he does seem to find some purpose in each of these lives.

Besides his life as a pet for Ethan, a few of his other lives are as a German shepherd police dog named Ellie, a corgi named Tino and a mixed breed named Buddy.

It’s impossible for viewers not to fall in love with the cute little dog and all his adventures, but just as they become attached to each of his lives, they are whacked in the head like a piñata with another heart-wrenching death.

In fact, “A Dog’s Purpose” offers many possibilities of ways dogs can die, which is probably not what viewers thought they’d be seeing when they bought their tickets to go see a movie about a dog.

Gad provides enthusiastic, thought-provoking narration as the dog, but his cheerfulness and slightly annoying voice do get old after a while and will leave viewers wondering how a dog could have such deep, philosophical questions. Not to mention, some viewers will soon remember Gad’s role of Olaf in Disney’s “Frozen” and after that, the movie will never be the same again.

“A Dog’s Purpose”-which is rated PG and runs for two hours- is definitely worth seeing- just as long as viewers bring a box of Kleenex.

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Categories: Entertainment

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