In a film that seems to be getting more press due to accusations of animal abuse, the film tries to capture the life journey of a dog. The dog (voiced by Josh Gad) continues to return in different incarnations, breeds and genders and fulfills the specific needs of their owner. The film takes place over several decades but the dog’s main story line revolves around a young boy named Ethan who adopts him in one of his earlier lives. They meet again decades later and that is just one of the several story lines that which take place during this incredibly hard to follow film.

A Nicholas Sparks film about dogs

This film is manipulative yet effective in what it sets out to do. The film is about a dog which by itself already makes the audience emotional. As everyone who has ever had a dog for a long time knows, they eventually pass away and this movie uses every single one of those moments to force the audience into going through a full box of tissues. This film is very much like a Nicholas Sparks movie in that you know every single plot point and can almost time shifts in tone. The movie also does something that is too literal in its use of rain to signal when something bad happens. For example, when the dog is about to be mistreated, it rains. Anyone who watches any kind of animal cruelty commercial knows the sad song that editors use to manipulate you to donate money.

Though no one was passing around a money bucket, this film makes it a mission to take away a person ability to think for themselves by doing all of the work for them. Even when Ethan (who is played by #Dennis quaid in his older years) figures out that the dog is the same one from this youth, the reaction is not in any way expected.

If you met the incarnation of your former dog, wouldn’t you go slightly ballistic?

A series of disconnected events

In all, I understand what the film was trying to do in that it wanted to show that #dogs provide guidance and comfort to their owners. However, it did not succeed in its mission. The film had too many different storylines and family dynamics which made falling in love with one family very difficult.

In one scene the dog is playing with a young boy and then in the next, he is helping the owner in his next life get married. It was too much going on for a story that is already complicated. Whenever the main focus of a film cannot speak for themselves, it is better to keep things simple. Also I found the film slightly classist in the way in portrayed rich families and poor families. Whenever the dog was adopted by a poor family, it was mistreated and made to feel less than. However, when he is adopted by a rich family, he is treated like a king. Life does not work that way and it was a subplot that really bothered me. This film tries to show people that do not value dogs why they are important. For that reason alone, this film is bearable but, there are many plot points that should have either been taken out or fleshed out more.