By Lauren Lovely (La Crosse, WI, USA)
A Dog’s Purpose, a fantasy drama film produced by Gavin Polone and directed by Lasse Hallstrom, is a heartwarming movie that you can’t help but to shed a tear or two for the love it brings to the screen. The film focuses on a dog who lives multiple lives, each life serving its own purpose. He specifically remembers his first owner, who at the time was a young boy named Ethan, who is played by Bryce Gheisar. The movie centers around the long lasting love this dog has for his first owner, although the love for all owners is shown, and his journey through her other lives to find him.
Dennis Quaid, an amazing actor who has starred in many known movies such as: The Parent Trap, The Rookie, Footloose, and many more, plays his character to a tee. He plays the main character Ethan during his adult years in life. Quaid knows his role, and because of this, it allows the viewer to feel every emotion as if you were actually there. When there was awkwardness between the two lovers, the audience felt that awkwardness. When there was love shown between the dogs and their owners, the audience felt that love. When there was hope that Bailey would find her way back to Ethan, the audience felt that hope. This is not the only movie that Dennis Quaid has shown excellence throughout. The other skilled actors in the movie such as Britt Robertson (younger Hannah), Peggy Lipton (adult Hannah), John Ortiz (Carlos), Josh Gad who played the voices of each dog, and many more all who performed excellent. Each character allowed you to grow an attachment to each relationship that was presented, whether it be with the animals or with another human, and that is what a movie is all about.
I tend to find flaws in every movie, and every time I tried to find one, I could not find one flaw in this particular movie. Not only was it very well written and performed, but it also sends a warm message to its viewers. This message is that everyone has a specific purpose here in life whether we are able to see it or not. You get to see the life through a dog’s lens and how a dog views their own life, their owner, and their surroundings. There were many low angle shots while watching this movie when it came from a dog’s view, which was about a quarter of the time. This creates a more powerful and intimidating affect for the movie. It allows each dog to show that they do have power, even if it’s just a little, over their owner.
There are scenes that incorporate hand-held camera shots. This is important because it makes the viewer feel like we are the dog our self-giving the scene a much deeper meaning. Every time a new dog was born, the scenes went in and out turning the entire screen white, and every time this happened, Bailey, which is the name of the first dog that is trying to find her way back to Ethan, would say something along the lines of “Oh, no! Not again. Here I go.” Each time Bailey was reborn, she figured out a specific purpose for her life. Although the dog never physically spoke because dogs can’t speak, besides barking, Josh Gad, who I mentioned earlier, allows us to hear what is going on in the dogs head, which is where the comedy in this movie comes from. The thoughts you hear as an audience, you can’t help but give a giggle or two.
If you don’t like dogs and you hate movies that make you shed a tear or two, then this might not be the best movie for you. However, if you love dogs, or animals in general and you don’t mind shedding a few tears then this is a must see film. It consists of drama, humor, love, and hope to give you a heart-warming feeling that will leave you breathless.
Dog: [voice over] What is the meaning of life? Are we here for a reason? Is there a point to any of this? And why does food taste so much better in the trash?
[we see different breeds of dog]
Dog: [voice over] This was me, and then this was me, then I came back as this little guy. A lot of lives for one dog to live, but I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s start at the beginning. For me it all began with a boy, his name was Ethan.