Critic Reviews



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The film is both heartwarming and soul-shattering. Its theme of an unbreakable bond between man and his best friend is reminiscent of "My Dog Skip," "Homeward Bound" and "Old Yeller."
Viewed in a vacuum, it’s hard to fault the movie’s earnestness; Hallström’s canine cinema pedigree (which includes the superior “Hachi: A Dog’s Tale”) shows through; and Rachel Portman’s score is understandably sentimental without going completely saccharine.
While the human performers are more than adequate, there’s no doubt that the canine stars carry the day. Their utter irresistibility helps a long way in terms of getting past the corny plot machinations of A Dog’s Purpose.
A Dog’s Purpose offers many of the highlights of human-canine relations at their warmest and most affectionate, but the film chooses to skim on sun-dappled surfaces (Terry Stacey of “Elvis and Nixon” was the cinematographer) and sentimentality (Rachel Portman’s score bombards the heartstrings) when it might have gone deeper
It’s all harmless enough, with the odd lump-in-the-throat moment as another dog meets his or her end. As a lifelong dog owner, I found the going rather grim.
Sure, we get the obligatory slapstick dog-shtick in the form of overturned food carts and disastrous dinner scenes and wacky chases, and there are some uplifting moments — but the overall mood of Lasse Hallstrom’s pup-point-of-view film is … melancholy, sometimes even grim.
A Dog's Purpose goes the Collateral Beauty route by preying on sadness and not earning its emotional reactions.
You don’t need an animal-rights group’s boycott to give you permission to avoid A Dog’s Purpose. You can skip it just because it’s clumsily manipulative dreck.
A misguided and utterly tone-deaf Hallmark card to the canis lupus familiaris and the people who love them.
What is the meaning of life? Are we here for a reason? Is there a point to any of this? We may never know, but knowing this movie exists may bring some viewers one step closer to giving up on the whole damn thing.

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