Hachi: A Dog's Tale

We’re suckers for cute animal movies. Show us a film featuring a fuzzy puppy wreaking havoc while worming its adorable way into a lead character’s jaded/bitter/frozen heart, and we’ll gladly give you two hours of our time. That is, as long as a box of tissues is nearby.

Naturally,we jumped at the chance to preview a DVD of “Hachi: A Dog’s Tale” starring Richard Gere and directed by “Chocolat” auteur Lasse Hallström. The film is based on the true story of an Akita named Hachiko, who lived in Japan in the early 20th century, and is a remake of a 1987 Japanese film called “Hachikō Monogatari.

” The story begins when Hachi, a little lost puppy, is rescued by professor Parker Wilson (Gere), much to the chagrin of Wilson’s wife, Cate (Joan Allen). But of course it doesn’t take long before the whole family falls for the adorable pooch. And when tragedy strikes, the entire town realizes the depth of Hachi’s devotion to his master.


The story is told from the dog’s perspective, though the viewer remains aware of what occurs outside of Hachi’s frame of reference. Some shots even present the world through the dog’s eyes. And while Hachi’s thoughts aren’t narrated, Hallström clearly communicates Hachi’s emotions to the audience in a way that evokes a devoted dog owner’s ability to sense what a beloved canine is thinking.

Anyone who loves animals and has experienced the loyalty a dog shows its owner will understand just how moving this story is. And while that tissue box may very well prove necessary, the film successfully touches hearts without resorting to sappy sentimentality.



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