A Dog’s Purpose

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Movie Info

  • Director: Lasse Hallstrom
  • Actors: Dennis Quaid, Britt Robertson, Josh Gad, KJ Apa, Juliet Rylance, John Ortiz, Kirby Howell-Baptiste, Peggy Lipton
  • Music: Rachel Portman
  • Cinematography: Terry Stacey
  • Edited by: Robert Leighton
  • Produced by: Gavin Polone

Movie Reviews

A Dog’s Purpose: Falls Short on Genuineness

Movie Review by Trijai Nerthi (Rocheston Certified Movie Critic)

The origins of Pet movies are mostly for the niche market. But when controversies of animal abuse on the set of the said movie arises, the niche of ardent animal lovers’ further narrows down to a sparse number of audiences. This is what happens in the case of director Lasse Hallström’s recent release ‘A Dog’s Purpose.’ Instead of tugging at your heart-strings, the whole film (barring a few genuine moments) comes across as an orchestrated and forced piece of execution.

A Dog’s Purpose follows the beloved dog Bailey and his various incarnations. With each rebirth, Bailey fulfills his purpose. At the heart of the plot is Bailey’s journey of discovering the true purpose of his existence. The magnanimous role he plays in the lives of his pet-parents and the various lives he touches in a life-time forms the rest of the story.

Director Lasse Hallstrom has packed this film with life altering incidents, irresistibly emotional moments and an undeniable layer of cuteness. But all these factors end up being the core problem itself. When you pack in these many strong elements without the strength of proper justification, the plot comes across as orchestrated and staged.

Each of Bailey’s reincarnations are predictable; you know many heroic and melodramatic sequences were placed in the screenplay just to extract tears out of the audiences. That in itself marks the failure of a good screenplay writer. Adding to the frustration of the predictability is the fact that you have a layer of doubt surrounding the film’s making.

You constantly find yourself wondering if those adorable four-legged angels were really abused at some point in order to get them to act a certain way. This along with a forced narrative rhythm makes it impossible for you to get too drawn into the film.

Another problem with A Dog’s Purpose is its depiction of only one side to having a pet in your life. After watching this film, many children would be tempted to ask their parents for a pet. The drawback is that the younger audiences never get to see the responsibilities of having a pet around. If that side had been highlighted a little more, the plot could’ve obtained more credibility.

As the voice of Bailey, Josh Gad captures shades of warmth, love, loneliness and anger impeccably. His vocal nuances bring alive an amusing yet endearing side of Bailey. The other supporting actors deliver good performances too, but none of them cross boundaries to achieve levels of greatness.

Terry Stacey’s imagery is quite easy to the eye. From the stubbornness of the dogs to their adorable ways, she has captured many heart-warming sequences impeccably. Robert Leighton’s editing could have followed a greater organic rhythm. The piecing together of Bailey’s reincarnations could’ve been made to seem like an effortless transition rather than a seemingly staged movement.

On the whole, A Dog’s Purpose is too orchestrated to warm your heart, but you could give it a watch just to let it induce nostalgia if you are a pet parent.

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