Let’s just say some tears were shed during that A Dog’s Journey screening
There are two types of people in the world: those that love dogs and those that don’t. It seems like there is no in-between sometimes; you would either die for them or you couldn’t care less if they died. Following this train of thought, you’d think A Dog’s Journey would appeal to half of the world and the rest wouldn’t even bother—but this isn’t the case. There’s so much more to the story that the reincarnation journey of a dog.
I myself am a dog person on the surface level. I like to play and I like to pet, but I have never thought of a dog as my child. As an alternate, the friend I brought to the screening is—by all exaggerated means—a dog person. She was excited yet scared for the film; I thought I was just in for a fun and lighthearted watch. We were both pleasantly surprised.
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At the start of the film, we see a family of five: Ethan (Dennis Quaid), wife Hannah (Marg Helgenberger), daughter-in-law Gloria (Betty Gilpin), granddaughter CJ and their dog, Bailey (voiced by Josh Gad). All seems picture-perfect—until Gloria feels suffocated, misunderstood and so completely judged that she decides to move and takes CJ with her.
Suddenly, it’s a more solemn family of three…and then two as Bailey’s age gets the better of him. As before he goes, Ethan tells him to find CJ in his next life and asks his beloved dog to help her. And just like the good boy that he is, Bailey does find CJ—over and over and over again.
You use, A Dog’s Journey is very much like its predecessor, 2017’s A Dog’s Purpose. We’re just following a different child, watching man’s best friend be someone else’s savior. So why watch it anyway?
Here’s why: It’s still a damn good movie to watch. Its story will take you on a rollercoaster ride with every dog’s death and every inevitable reunion. You’ll root for Bailey (and all the versions of Bailey) every step of the way and you’ll smile as you watch CJ’s life fall into place. Besides, who doesn’t love a feel-good film where every shitty piece of life eventually shines itself into something good?
While there may not be anything noteworthy about the film—fairly certain we don’t have an Oscar contender here—it’s exactly what you need to start the weekend on a high note or if you need a little pick-me-up in the middle of a particularly grueling work week. It’s effective; trust us. I sat beside a friend that cried within the first twenty minutes (and continued to cry as the film went on) who still walked out the cinema feeling so much lighter. And what about me, this only-on-the-surface dog person? I didn’t shed any tears, but I definitely enjoyed myself.
A Dog’s Journey is currently showing in cinemas.
Art Alexandra Lara