I first saw the trailer for this movie many months ago and thought it looked very sweet, so was keen to see it with my friend Debbie, who is a very vocal animal activist/supporter. Then the controversial footage of a German shepherd seemingly being forced to perform a stunt emerged. I was horrified by what I saw and decided I would not support this movie in any way, even to review it.
Within a month or so, Debbie called and told me she had been following the story online and the American Humane Association had investigated the footage and concluded that no cruelty was involved on the set of the film, so we were all clear to go ahead and review the movie.
I wanted to address this before my review just in case anyone saw the footage but not the subsequent outcome. Not onto the actual review ….
Bailey (voiced by Gad) is a dog seeking the meaning of life. His purpose for existing. It all seems a bit existential but who hasn’t at one time or another wondered…why am I here?
And so begins the many incarnations of Bailey the dog. Some are very short, some are sad but the movie focuses on the ones where we can all learn a lesson or two from not only Bailey but his humans as well.
Bailey’s most meaningful life was shared with Ethan (played by 3 actors Gheisar, Apa and Quaid) and was a long and eventful one. Ethan came from a troubled home but through it all, he had Bailey and Bailey had Ethan. They were inseparable and when Bailey passed, I swear there wasn’t a dry eye in the cinema. Even my own cold, dead heart was tempted to beat. It didn’t, of course, but it thought about it.
This movie is a shameless tug at the old heart strings. It will have any you in tears of sadness as often as ones of pure joy. And there aint nothing wrong with that!
It’s not a particularly good movie but the acting is solid and the dogs are adorable. But that’s not even close to the point. As they often say, what did humans do to deserve dogs.
3 ½ stars
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Director : Lasse Hallstrom
Starring : Josh Gad, Dennis Quaid, Peggy Lipton, Bryce Gheisar, K.J. Apa, Juliet Rylance, Luke Kirby, Britt Robertson
Running Time : 100 minutes
Release Date : In Cinemas Now
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