A Dog’s Purpose, directed by Lasse Hallstrom is a film based on the novel by W. Bruce Cameron. The movie follows Bailey (voiced by Josh Gad), a lovable and spirited dog who finds himself being reborn again and again.

As Bailey discovers something new with each life experience, he begins to wonder what his purpose is in life.

The film, which also stars Dennis Quaid, Britt Robertson and Juliet Rylance, is rated PG even though it contains several jokes that only the older viewers will catch.

Be sure to bring a box of Kleenex for this film. Since Bailey goes through many different lives, each one has to end for the next to come.

The Golden Retriever also spends time as a German Shepard named Ellie and a Corgi named Ellie, among others.

The best part of the movie has to be the connection between Bailey and one of his owners, Ethan. Their relationship carries on throughout the movie and is an essential part to making the story come full circle.

It also highlights one of the main themes of the movie: the unbreakable bond between owner and pet.

While the plot line is at times sappy, the film succeeds in its purpose of engaging sentimentality in its viewers.

Intertwined with several different stories, some pleasant and others sorrowful, each section inspires a variety of emotions in the two-hour run time, as Bailey the dog goes on his journey.

Rest assured, Bailey does discover his purpose, and when he does, you’ll be happy you packed that Kleenex.

Unfortunately, the film’s touching story has not been what has made headlines as of late, but instead an unwanted controversy has surfaced.

After a video was released last week of one of the dog’s, a German Shepard named Hercules, being treated inhumanely during filming, people have begun to question whether they should go to see it, and risk supporting animal cruelty.

In the recently released footage, the crew is filming a scene with Hercules near rushing water, and while the dog is clearly distraught and does not want to enter the turbulent water, he is forced in.

There are still many questions surrounding the video, including why the footage has just now surfaced a week before the movie was set to premiere.

In the video’s wake, animal right’s activist group PETA has called for a boycott of the movie, and film distributor Universal Pictures decided to cancel the Hollywood premiere.

Since the video’s release, many of the cast and crew have released statements expressing their sadness over the incident and trying to assure the public that they were not aware the injustice has taken place.

They continue to stand by the movie, and encourage people to remember the importance of the film, despite the controversy that now surrounds it.

Actor Dennis Quaid, who plays Ethan in the film, has spoken out during the press tour, stating that the footage released was edited and that no dogs were harmed.

“I never saw any abuse of any animal, and if there had been, I would have walked,” he said.

Cameron, who also served as a screenwriter to the film, told Variety that while “mistakes we’re made” during the filming, the footage shown is inaccurate.

The writer went back and watched the footage from the day in it’s entirety, and claims it paints a completely different picture. He stated that Hercules was actually excited to go in the water, and had just gotten upset by the change in location of where he was supposed to jump in.

The trainer made the mistake of dipping Hercules in the water to show him it was okay, but after going back to the original location, the dog happily proceeded to do the stunt.

“On a movie where the mantra was the safety and comfort of the dogs, mistakes were made, and everything needs to be done to make sure those errors are not repeated,” Cameron said. “But the reason American Humane certifies that no animals were harmed during the making of the film is that no animals were harmed during the making of the film.”

If the disconcerting footage captured during filming is a true portrayal of what happened to Hercules, I agree that steps need to be taken so this never happens again, but if it has deterred you from seeing this film, I encourage you to reconsider.

A Dog’s Purpose is a touching tribute to man’s best friend and serves as a reminder to the audience that cherishing our furry friends is one of the best gifts life offers.

It is a film worth seeing, and helps the viewer recognize that not only do we play a pivotal role in our pet’s lives, but they are important in ours.

Rating: 3.5/4


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