Commuting by train, music professor Parker Wilson finds an Akita puppy, whose cage broke unnoticed during shipping, leaving his destination unknown, and since the station can't care for it and the dog catcher warns even such cute ones may not be adopted in the two weeks allowed, he kindly takes it home. His bossy, jealous wife Cate initially makes Parker swear it won't stay, but by the time its' clear nobody will claim him and an adoption candidate is found, she agrees to keep the dog, who won over their daughter Andy and her fiance Michael at first sight. Parker's Japanese college friend Ken inspires naming the pup Hachi(ko), and is pleasantly surprised when Parker successfully tackles the challenge to get it to fetch, which Akitas don't usually do. Hachi makes a habit of waiting for his equally doting master at the station every evening, but after a cardiac crisis, Parker dies. Hachi refuses to accept this, being moved to Michael's home as Cate moves out, waiting for a master who ...Written by
When Hachi brings the ball to Parker at the station, while Parker opens the door, the reflection of the camera is visible in the window of the door. See more »
So even if Columbus got lost and wasn't the first to discover America, he's still my hero. He was really brave to sail in such a tiny ship over a really big ocean. And because of him, we get Columbus Day off of school.
Thank you Heather. Uh, Ronnie? Tell us about your hero.
Ronnie - 11 years:
[writes HACHIKO on the blackboard]
Hachiko was my grandfather Wilson's dog. Everyone called Hachi a mystery dog because they never really knew where he came from. Maybe Hachi escaped from a dog pound. Or maybe he ...
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Message near the end of the credits: "Although beloved by many as a family pet, Akitas are recommended only for dedicated and experienced dog owners. To learn more, please visit the American Humane Association at www.americanhumane.org and the American Kennel Club at www.akc.org" See more »
Unprecedented loyalty in a story of age-old friendship
Knowing the real-life story behind it, Hachiko: A Dog's Story (2009) has been made in a sort of staged documentary style, similar to the kind of movies often seen on documentary channels (e.g. NatGeo), however without a narrator so common in documentaries, and including well-known actors (Richard Gere, Sarah Roemer and Joan Allen), making it more suitable for theatrical distribution.
Before my last year's visit to Tokyo I've been unaware of the true-life story this movie is based upon. In time an occasion came up to meet a friend in Shibuya city, contemporary center of Tokyo's youth culture (shopping, fashion, nightlife...), and that's how I've learned about the popular local meeting point for all Tokyoites, the Hachikō Akita dog statue just outside of Shibuya Train Station, but the real story behind it has been still eluding me ever since. After seeing this movie, and some additional research on the web, all pieces have fallen into place.
In retelling the story of common bonding between the dog and its owner, so usual that it comes so natural, film is moving at slow pace, following events of an ordinary life, though not without occasional comedic and dramatic overtones. Even past the dramatic highpoint, when common acts of affection and loyalty evolve towards such an unheard-of faithfulness and ultimate devotion, pace of the storytelling does not change, relying primarily on fine details and emotional build-up. Of course, this might not attract everybody, providing that majority of movie audience today is highly dependent on fast paced, action packed scenes, getting thrills from 3D CG stylized ambiance and suspense, high volume amplitudes and aggressive, often rude highlights of any other nature. However, for those who can do without it, and keep alive their interest even in a simple story, who won't shy away from emotional involvement (as if this can be controlled), they shall easily find themselves consumed by its mere beauty and warmth. Usual man's-best-friend story, spiced with an intriguing yet inspiring detail, shall leave you a bit sad, inevitably pensive, but ultimately delighted. Even more so after the reading of the real-life epilogue.
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