Movie Review: A Dog’s Purpose

The movie “A Dog’s Purpose” is about much more than just the reincarnation of one dog into the lives of several different people. This movie is about the human condition, it’s about a bad marriage born out of husband who is miserable in his job and very sick of being a traveling salesman and ironically because he is so good at selling things on the road, he is doomed to never be promoted. Because of his misery, just like the recent movie “Fences”, he takes out his anger on his family and then turns to alcohol. You wonder while you watch the unraveling of this family because of the anger and misery over a job, just how often something like this happens to people in this country and around the world. Is it possible to ever be fulfilled and happy when you hate your job and you know deserve so much better? But the problem really is, it is not your family’s fault, so why take it out on them? This movie does a beautiful job in blending together complex human problems with the simple thoughts and the simple life of a dog and suggests that a dog’s purpose is all about being there, to give some happiness and joy to people and ultimately, this is the real message of this film.

There are several different stories within this movie and they all connected to the repeated reincarnation of the same dog and within each reincarnation, the dog is able to remember previous lives. The most important story is the first one about a young boy, who is an only child, and gets his first dog and ultimately his parent’s divorce because of alcoholism. Throughout this whole film, there is narration so we can hear the thoughts of the dog, although I would have selected a different sounding voice than the one they chose for this movie. Some parts of the dog’s narrations are funny but other ones can break your heart because of their simplicity and purity. This movie doesn’t try too hard to make you cry but at times it is impossible not to, most especially at the end when the last story is expertly tied together for a very emotional ending. I would not recommend this movie to any young children because of the multiple deaths and reincarnations of this dog, but I thought overall that A Dogs Purpose was a throwback to Disney movies about animals and was very well done.

The actor Dennis Quaid is in the last story within this film and he does a solid job as one of the owners of this reincarnated dog as well as Peggy Lipton who I have not seen in a movie in many years.

Unfortunately, there is some controversy over this movie because of some possible trainer abuse of a German Shepard for one scene where the dog had to jump into water and this probably accounts for the low ratings on IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes. I have heard that there was no real abuse of any animals in this film including the incident with the German Shepard and it was obvious to me that everybody involved in this film loves animals and especially dogs so I believe this controversy is unwarranted. A Dog’s Purpose is a very good movie about the love of dogs and I give it a very solid recommendation.

A Dog’s Purpose: A Novel for Humans